Home Visit: Ace & Jig’s Jenna Wilson Takes Us Through Her Textile-Filled Home


Jenna Wilson's home is made of interior poetry. As the co-founder of the beloved fashion brand Ace & Jig, Jenna has made the most use of her space to inspire creativity. But outside of her work-related endeavors, she also believes in the importance of creating an environment built on memories. "I guess that a place that feels safe is essential for most creation to happen," Jenna shared. "I have lived in all sorts of homes, but my favorite has been the least fancy and the most cramped. I want to wake up in a place that feels safe, warm, and amongst the people and things I love."

Jenna's intentional aesthetic is artful and present in every corner of her Portland abode. Textiles from Ace & Jig assume positions in both the closets and on the walls. Empty nooks and crannies are adorned with thrifted treasures and artwork from her kids. This ever-growing collection of items forms a scrapbook of moments from Jenna's vibrant life.

—Rachel Schwartzmann

Who are you outside of your profession, what do you enjoy, and what do you value in life?
I'm a Canadian gal living in Portland, Oregon, after a long stint in New York. I'm a solo mom of two: Adah, age six, and James (JIG!), who just turned nine. We live a simple, colorful, chaotic life. We don't have much, and we don't want much. My favorite days are ones filled with spontaneous adventures of all sorts: winter beach, berry picking, art galleries, food trucks, train rides, star gazing, picnics, rummaging through thrift stores, kitchen dance parties, library afternoons, and on and on. Textiles are poetry to me. I value peace.

From Brooklyn to Portland, Ace & Jig seems to take you all over the world. Why does Portland feel like home, and how does it inspire you?
I fell in love with Portland years ago, and it keeps growing. I love the grey days, the overly abundant flora, the shabby houses, the food, walking everywhere, the activism, the artists. It definitely feels like home. The kindness of strangers happens a lot here, and it inspires me to want to do better myself.

Talk to us about your current home. How does it embody your personal style and creative sensibility?
It's filled with color, textiles, textures, treasures, my kids' art, and creations. Nothing is precious; almost everything is inexpensive, thrifted, or handed down. We use everything to the fullest and beat stuff up a ton. Functional, effortless, and joyful, like the clothing we make. My Ace & Jig is hanging on hooks in my bedroom or folded on shelves because I realized that for me, hangers plus closet equal piles on the floor. So, in our house, textiles are the art on the walls. And then you get to take that dress down off the wall and wear it. It warms you; it fills you with memories and cheer and nostalgia.

What is the first thing you do after long periods of travel?
I take a walk to the coffee shop around the corner and get a cup of tea and sit and read the newspaper. I walk my neighborhood. Make some art or origami at the kitchen table with my kids. Curl up in bed with my cats.

What are your thoughts on the synergy between fashion and interior style? Do you feel you have a similar approach to both?
We make home goods when the mood strikes—I have our quilts and pillows, flags, and napkins strewn through my house. We also have collaborated with artists like Pauline Boyd of Counterpane and Lisa Dorr of Le Bouton to make really special one-of-a-kind home goods (out of our scrap textiles since we are a no-waste company). Those are some of my favorite things. Much of my clothing hangs on my walls, so there are definitely blurred lines between interiors and fashion in our little home.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Cary and I had the amazing experience of speaking about our business this past winter at a design summit in Santa Fe… so maybe more about the business side of things? (PS: currently completely obsessed with the NPR podcast How I Built This.)

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world's bigger conversations? What role do you hope your endeavors play in this shift?
We have seen the power of clothing and textiles bring people together. There are so many stories of women meeting through a mutual love of Ace & Jig and becoming friends, meeting up, and supporting each other. We have also started to mobilize our business to be a force for good. We have run over 20 fund-raisers in the past 12 months for non-profits ranging from the ACLU and SPLC to a local Portland women's shelter. We use our voice. We are pushing ourselves to be more sustainable in every way. We are holding events where women can swap and repair their clothing to extend the life of a garment. Our decisions are driven by the desire to make less stuff: let's get better, not bigger. Our audience is engaged and cares and pushes and inspires us to improve continually.

How would you advise the next generation of creatives to leave an imprint in the world—simply by doing what they love?
Oh man, I feel so ill-equipped to advise anyone! But I tell my kids: Simply doing what you love is not enough. Be kind and fight for what is right. Let that be your first love.