The Textile Love Story of Ace & Jig
Jenna Wilson and Cary Vaughan, Co-Founders of ace&jig
Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR
We met in Soho circa 2001, as the first interns for a company called Language NYC. Jenna was steaming and Cary was ironing. We instantly bonded over a shared love of vintage, antiques, and old textiles. Anything that carried history and soul. We worked together for years at Language NYC and LaRok, before we decided to branch out on our own, after the birth of our first children (who’s initials are A.C.E. and J.I.G).
The very first seeds of ace&jig were sown when we rented a teeny space in a shared studio on 7th street and avenue A that was in a basement and was max 100 square feet. The building was all split up among struggling artists- all following their own dream. At that time we wanted to make one of a kind clothing out of vintage and found textiles. Over time that idea morphed into ace&jig and our focus became making effortless clothing from our own yarn-dyed woven fabric designs. We searched all over until we found our partners: textile experts working on ancient handlooms in India who could help us make our designs a reality.
Our first collection was Fall 2010 – it only had 3 fabrics. People were like, “you can't do a line with just 3 fabrics!” But we persisted, stayed true to who we were, and slowly grew. Now each season we create 25+ custom textiles. We could not have done it without our amazing team and engaged community. We have been able to create a no waste company where we can give back and do more than just make clothing, but our love for textiles remains unchanged.
Our bicoastal team works out of studios in Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR.
We always say ace&jig is a textile love story! Everything begins at the textile level – we obsessed over the color, pattern, weight, texture, and variation of each fabric in our collection. We design our clothing to be a vehicle for the expression of the textile. If you love ace&jig, you probably connect with our designs on two levels: the textile AND the style.
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment when we came up with ace&jig, because textiles were such an essential part of both of our lives from the beginning. Our grandmothers - four tough-as-nails matriarchs - were great sources of inspiration for us as collectors, thrifters and creators themselves. We had both been collecting textile scraps and inspiration from our travels for years, saving them up for…something! Given our shared love of these historic remnants, it felt right to set about to create our own woven textiles that would resonate deeply and create joy. We had seen the face of disposable fashion and knew we must do better. So, we rejected it by creating our own cloth and silhouettes that would become beloved, well worn, and passed along.... effortless and seasonless shapes that you can wear with ease and confidence for many years to come.
The easiest answer here is to say that we create our own textiles, and that everything begins on the molecular level, and our emotional connection to cloth.
But what we never expected, and what really has made ace&jig unique over the years, has been the amazing community that has sprung up around our brand! We’re so lucky to have a great and diverse group of individuals share our diehard love for textiles, and to have watched them connect online and in person in ways we never could have imagined. We have seen strangers connect from abroad, find friends in foreign or new places, share joys and hardships with each other, and support each other in these profound ways. This has been an unexpected joy of trade.
Sustainability has always been a core part of our brand. One of our big commitments is to create zero waste. We find creative uses for all our remaining scraps. Our largest and most heartfelt no waste project so far has to be our ace&jig Community Quilt! We sent hundreds of volunteers from our community bundles of our leftover scrap fabric. From these scraps, each created one-of-a- kind quilt squares, then sent them back. From these squares, we created 13 (!!) jumbo quilts! Each one is a testament to our amazing community and to the 9+ years of textiles that we have created.
Our Indian partners also have very high standards of sustainability and the wages, benefits, hours, health, safety, and childcare of their employees. They share our values and practice the holistic kaizen philosophy of always continuing to improve. They employ 90% women tailors, and all employees benefit from free childcare and fresh produce grown on site with reclaimed water.