When do you feel wild?
We both have two wild children who constantly remind us to stay in the present and get wild ourselves! That could be jumping on a trampoline, river swimming, taking part in one of their dance routines or testing out one of their funny food concoctions.
Tell us how it all began. How did you meet?
We met in Soho circa 2001 as the first interns for an independent design house. Jenna was steaming and Cary was ironing. We bonded instantly over a shared love of vintage, antiques and old textiles, anything that carried history and soul. We worked together for years before we decided to branch out on our own after the births of our first children, who’s initials are A.C.E. and J.I.G, which is where our name came from.
Talk us through the moment you both decided to create your own textile brand, ace&jig.
ace&jig started in a teeny space in a shared studio on 7th Street and Avenue A. Our first studio was 100 square feet in a NYC basement space. Our aim was to create effortless clothing from our own yarn-dyed and woven fabric designs. We searched all over until we found our partners: master weavers in India who could help us make our textile designs a reality.
You both share a deep love for textiles. What is it about cloth that you find so appealing?
For us, a great textile is as interesting in texture and colour as it is in pattern. We love to experiment with different weights, pops of colour, or with very small to very wide repeats of a pattern or stripe. We love how the woven medium allows for an infinite number of possibilities. Our favourite fabrics are made with this in mind.
How do your textiles come to life?
Our textiles all begin as raw cotton. From there we work with a dyer to achieve the exact shade we are looking for. Once dyed, these skeins of fibre are dried in the sun. Then the painstaking warping process begins. We start by making small weavings called handlooms, tweaking colour, texture, pattern and hand feel until we get the fabric just right. It’s only once we look at the textile and get that magical feeling that we pass the final designs on to larger autolooms for production. We work one-on-one with our weaving partners in India to bring each design to life.
What influences your designs?
Everything! While the woven medium is our main source of inspiration, we get colour, texture and pattern inspiration from all over — things we see in art, fashion traditions, our children’s art, everyday objects and tactile encounters.
What are you doing to minimise the environmental impact of your brand?
Our environmental impact is something we are constantly evaluating and working to minimise — from production to packaging, garment lifespan and more. We recently launched an exciting circular program with The Renewal Workshop that allows customers to send back well-loved or damaged items to be renewed. Extending the lifespan of a garment through any one of these practices is an effective way of limiting each garment’s environmental impact.
What are you …
Jenna: Willie Nelson’s Stardust and Frank Ocean
Cary: Top hits with my kids in the car
Jenna: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Cary: Untangled by Lisa Damour
Jenna and Cary: ace&jig and vintage!
Jenna and Cary: A Green New Deal
What’s next for ace&jig?
Our goal is always to do things better, not bigger. We have always been committed to fostering a culture of sustainability within and around our brand but as time passes, we find ourselves getting more deeply entrenched. We have a long list of goals, from giving back in more meaningful ways to continually improving how we work and carrying this ethos forward into the lives of our shoppers.
For more, visit aceandjig.com