A Conversation with ace&jig founders Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson

September 09, 2020

In 2009, Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson founded ace&jig to create timeless garments from their own textile designs.  They design effortless and seasonless collections using their own yarn-dye woven fabric that is as interesting in texture as in color and pattern.  Each collection is anchored by the stripe because they believe stripes provide an endless source for reinvention.

The Renewal Workshop understands the power of reinvention as it is so closely aligned with renewal.  So we are proud to be in partnership with ace&jig and extremely excited to launch the ace&jig Renewed Collection as well as the ace&jig Take Back program. Before you hop over to the collection, get to know a bit about ace&jig through our recent conversation with the founders, Cary and Jenna. 

Where does your love of textiles come from?

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.

Why do you seek to create timeless garments?  What makes a garment timeless?

We met as interns in the NYC garment industry, so we had seen the face of disposable fashion. In creating ace&jig, we knew we must do better. We began creating our own cloth and silhouettes in hopes that it would become beloved, well worn, and passed along, instead of gone after one season. 

What inspired you to start the scrap fellowship?

We’ve done our best to find creative ways to reuse our leftover textile scraps over the years: from artist collaborations, to collaborative projects like our Community Quilts. We created our Scrap Fellowships as another way to use our scraps for good! Individuals apply by proposing their own scrap projects, and telling us how their project would benefit others. 

Our first-ever Scrap Fellowship went to The Children's Institute of Fashion Arts, a nonprofit organization based in Manhattan and Brooklyn that runs after-school programs to teach children to sew. This program adapted and shifted fully online in the face of Covid, and students have been attending online tutorials to create fabric booklets where they practice different sewing techniques, small crafts, and other fun educational projects. We’re so happy to see the beautiful and long trajectory of these scraps, which traditionally would have been seen as waste! 

Why have you decided to partner with The Renewal Workshop?

It’s been a long-term goal of ours to add more circularity to our business.  We’ve encouraged mending, swapping, repairing, and any way of lengthening the lifespan of ace&jig, but our partnership with The Renewal Workshop allows us to now promote and facilitate renewing ace&jig through their circle back program! Allowing our customers to send back damaged or unwanted ace&jig to be revived and adding another arm of longevity to our story. 

Has 2020 reshaped any part of your approach?

These last few months have forced us to reexamine everything.  We have looked at the intricacies of all that we do, why and how we do it, and will continue to do so.  We know that we must do more to fight racism and systemic oppression, and have doubled down on our commitments to doing the internal work and to using our platform to support Black Lives Matter.

Covid made us slow down, and in doing so, we realized just how fast we were moving.  We are going forward with a renewed commitment to making things more thoughtfully.  Our plan is to create less clothing and to do better, and to focus in on the sustainable and equitable initiatives we’ve been working towards for years.

 

ace&jig is based in Brooklyn, New York, and Portland, Oregon, and is composed of Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson, who met more than ten years ago as fashion design interns and instantly bonded over their shared love of antique textiles.  After Cary gave birth to daughter Alice and Jenna had her son James, they felt the time had come to collaborate again. Thus, ace&jig was born.


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