ARTIST INTERVIEW: Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson of ace&jig

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Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson met as NYC fashion design interns almost 10 years ago. Transplants from Virginia Beach and Vancouver respectively, they became fast and furious friends. Both studied fashion and fibers and hailed from a long line of curiosity collectors. Bonding over their common love of textiles, they sketched into the wee hours of the night and devoured all of the vintage stores they could find.

Cary and Jenna designed for Language NYC in 2001, having their hands in all aspects of the business. In 2004, the launched LaROK together and built the brand into a multi-million dollar venture. However, in 2007 they both left LaROK to refocus their energy on starting their families. 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.

The culmination of their travels and experiences within the fashion industry, ace&jig is a fresh take on a collection reflecting their passion for authentic textiles and their desire to create cool, accessible clothes.

We asked Jenna and Cary about their creative journey.

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Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?

We started out with an idea: to create effortless clothing from our own yarn-dye woven fabric. It was risky in that it was a new idea and everyone said it wouldn’t work! After about one year of travel and research into finding a manufacturer equally passionate about the craft of weaving, we started to design and bring to life the fabrics we had always dreamed of making. Six years later our partnership is still strong, and has grown and improved in so many ways. We’re so glad we took the risk.

 

What are your most important artistic tools?

Scraps! We are textile junkies, and have collected – or maybe the better word is amassed – a hoarder-like store of vintage and antique textiles. Think rugs, feedsack bags, scraps of lace. Anything with interesting color, texture, weight, pattern. At the beginning of the design process we pull out our recent favorites and begin to brainstorm from there.

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What do you hope to share with those who purchase your art and bring it intimately into their lives?

Just that! An intimate connection. Color, texture, and weight are all immensely evocative to us, and we’re aiming for fabrics and styles that evoke a sense of history or nostalgia. Something both immediately beautiful and also reminiscent of a favorite blanket inherited from a grandmother or a boro patchwork kimono encountered on a trip to Japan. We believe the story behind the fabric is a part of it’s magic, and we want our designs to be kept, worn, treasured, and passed along, a narrative that continues to unfold. We rebel against the culture of fast, disposable, trendy fashion and aim to create clothing that is cherished, collected, traded and handed down.

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