ace&jig's Woven Love Story
Our recent visit with ace&jig proves that everything is a little bit more fun when you’ve got a partner in crime.
From fashion to business, the brand’s co-founders Cary Vaughn and Jenna Wilson have built a small but mighty brand with success deeply rooted in their appreciation for the process and a passion for the materials. “We really began our brand with our yarn-dye textiles,” they shared in our interview below, “It has been there since day one and a very consistent constant at the core of our brand to this day. We only make yarn-dye woven fabrics, and have never deviated from that.”
Why reinvent the wheel, right? With a consistent and successful framework in place, the brand’s penchant for vibrant embellishments and fun silhouettes have allowed ace&jig to evolve into a cult-favorite, and that evolution extends to their story. In fact, they even shared these thoughts in our interview below, “Since we began ace&jig we see a much larger movement in terms of designers focusing in on one medium and really fleshing that out as opposed to trying to create the more traditional contemporary collection - that's been an exciting change to watch.” Believe us when we say it’s been just as exciting for us (and our wardrobes too). Read on to discover more from our interview with Cary and Jenna below, and check out a few fun photos featuring the duo’s style here at The Brand Assembly Square. Also catch a second part of this story (featuring more amazing style!) on The Style Line.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES!
We are Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson - the founders of ace&jig. Mamas, best friends, and business partners! Family is our biggest joy and we struggle to find balance and seek out as much joy as we can in these crazy lives.
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO BRAND ASSEMBLY AND WHAT ROLE DOES COMMUNITY PLAY IN THE BRAND?
We have been showing the collection at Brand Assembly Los Angeles for a few seasons and its always been great! The brands that show there are all like-minded and this makes it easy for the stores to visit and leave happy. There is an amazing sense of community amongst small designers that show at Brand Assembly - everyone is helping each other out.
FOLLOWING UP FROM THE PREVIOUS QUESTION, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELVES AND APPROACH TO DESIGN AS A RESULT OF MEETING/BEFRIENDING/WORKING WITH OTHER DESIGNERS IN THIS MARKET?
We are definitely those people that ask a lot of questions - to anyone and everyone. We are constantly asking our fellow designers questions and for advice, and conversely we are constantly offering up the same. We may go about creating our product differently than our peers, but ultimately there are challenges we all face as small business owners.
WALK US THROUGH THIS IDEA OF A “TEXTILE LOVE STORY” - HOW HAS THIS APPROACH EVOLVED AS THE BRAND HAS GROWN AND WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE FOR OTHER EMERGING DESIGNERS WHOSE DESIGN PROCESS BEGINS WITH TEXTILE?
We really began our brand with our yarn-dye textiles – it has been there since day one and a very consistent constant at the core of our brand to this day. We only make yarn-dye woven fabrics, and have never deviated from that. The variety comes in with the weight, weave, texture, color, pattern and hand-feel. For us - that's an endless opportunity for reinvention, yet neatly contained within workable boundaries. Our best advice would be to find something you love and are passionate about and good at and keep consistent. It takes a long time to build awareness in a brand and a loyal following. If you are constantly changing it up you aren't giving your brand the chance to thrive.
BASED ON INTERVIEWS WE’VE DONE WITH OTHER DESIGNERS IN OUR COMMUNITY, PRINTS or patterns SEEM TO BE A STAPLE WITHIN THE CONTEMPORARY MARKET. WE KNOW YOU BOTH NATURALLY GRAVITATE TOWARDS bold elements... SO WHY DO YOU THINK THIS PARTICULAR CUSTOMER/WOMAN GRAVITATES TO this aesthetic AND HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR design process REFRESHED AND INSPIRED?
Here at ace&jig we create yarn-dye woven patterns - every pattern in every textile we create from polka-dots to stripes (etc.) is woven on a loom. We do not dabble in prints- we like to do it the hard way! Our customers are conscientious and creative lovers of textiles. There is a nostalgia to our fabrics. We often hear tales where someone was reminded of their grandmother's coverlet, or a cloth they encountered on travels. Global textile traditions are a huge source of inspiration for us and infuse our textiles - the absolute best is when our stuff evokes good feelings.
HERE AT BRAND ASSEMBLY WE ARE ALL ABOUT FOCUSING ON CONTEMPORARY FASHION AND THE IDEA OF “WHAT’S NEXT”. WITH THAT IN MIND WE LOVE ACE&JIG’S SEASON-LESS COLLECTIONS AND ARE WONDERING IF YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON THE INDUSTRY’S OLDER MODELS BEING RESTRUCTURED?
Creating clothing that is not disposable and truly stands the test of time is at the core of our brand. We strive to create closet favorites that are beloved and worn year round (whether layered or bare depending on the season), from year to year and eventually passed along. There is a culture of 'swapping' going on now around ace&jig where fans are actively swapping garments with each other - keeping it fresh! It’s a great testament to the worth of creating something lasting, season-less and not trendy or disposable. We have never worked within the rules of the fashion establishment in terms of fabrication and categories yet our fans have fallen in love. We try to take a practical approach to what we create, we go with our gut and focus on what we are good at.
MANY CONTEMPORARY FASHION DESIGNERS THAT WE’VE SPOKEN WITH HAVE ALLUDED TO THE FACT THAT THEY’VE GOT THEIR HANDS IN EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR BUSINESS. SO FROM PR TO SOCIAL MEDIA, WHAT OTHER AREAS OF YOUR BUSINESS HAVE YOU DEVELOPED A PASSION FOR? HAVE THESE DISCOVERIES LED TO ANY NEW INSPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND’S STORY?
We are truly involved in every single aspect of the business! A few of them we have been happy to eventually pass along to true pros (e.g. an excellent team of women now handle our shipping after years of us personally packing and shipping each and every box), but most areas of the business we still get deeply involved in. We are passionate about running a business - and all that entails. To be honest - a lot of it isn't very sexy! The financial stuff for example! The hiring and benefits... and so on. But it’s all integral and just seeing it all work together is really gratifying.
DESPITE THE CRAZINESS THAT COMES WITH RUNNING A BUSINESS, WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE IDEA OF FASHION DESIGN AND HOW DO YOU THINK ACE&JIG IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE CONTEMPORARY MOVEMENT?
To bring a little joy into the world in a thoughtful and meaningful way makes it all worthwhile! We get notes all of the time from appreciative women who tell us how great they feel in our clothes, and how much they adore the textiles. Since we began ace&jig we see a much larger movement in terms of designers focusing in on one medium and really fleshing that out as opposed to trying to create the more traditional contemporary collection - that's been an exciting change to watch.
WHAT DO YOU ASSEMBLE DAILY?
We always start with ace&jig! Layer a textile back with an older textile... add a sneaker or oxford... layer in a fun sock, earring or bandana. It is a lot of fun. And comfortable too.