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Ace & Jig Geeks Out on Fabric

05/11/2011

For Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson, the best way to make their chilled-out clothing line Ace & Jig feel special—feel like theirs—was to deep dive into the world of fabrics. “Most of the time in the contemporary fashion world, people go shop for fabric at mills or with an agent,” says Jenna. “You flip through books and say, ‘I want this,’” adds Cary. They’re doing everything from scratch, from choosing the color and size of the yarn to determining the texture and pattern, working with a small factory in India that weaves each material by hand. Here, they give us a tour of the process.

Scoop up the edition Cary and Jenna made just for us from our very favorite of their spring textiles: a spirited red-and-pink plaid.


Jenna: Through a friend of a friend, we met a man in India who’s part of a textile family and owns a factory that was passed on to him. He loves what we’re doing, so it’s a very symbiotic relationship. We love the way he runs his business, too. The garment industry can be very unethical and cold. But his place is very warm. The women who are working there have free health care, and he gives fresh fruits and vegetables to his employees. We felt aligned with him in what we are doing.


Jenna: One of the first steps of weaving the fabric is winding the yarn. This bicycle contraption is a new invention that the factory owner has come up with that he is so excited about—a more automated way of winding the yarn onto a spool.
Cary: He thinks it is so cool because he’s really into recycling.


Jenna: There’s a board that looks like it has corks in it. That’s how the weaver plans out what he’s going to do to create the textures that we want—different unders and overs, different kinds of yarn.


Jenna: Then the weaver sets up the loom to create the colors and patterns that you want. The warp goes from top to bottom, and the weft is from left to right. So he’ll have the warp all set up, and then he uses the shuttle to create the left to right, going under-over, under-over. It’s really complicated to create certain textures, and it’s a very tedious process.


Cary: This plaid from our spring 2011 collection is made the same way as the red-and-pink fabric that we used in the dress we made for Of a Kind.

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