I Miss My Howick Ballroom Jeans –The 70s Revisited

I Miss My Howick Ballroom Jeans –The 70s Revisited


This is why Daylight Savings Time needs to be abolished– I think we all turned the clocks back a little too far. Someone is trying to cash in on nostalgia– you know, what is old is new again. Of course people who used to wear wide-leg jeans should now rejoice. According to Christie Creighton Wallace’s Facebook page the jeans that outfitted a generation are coming back to cover America’s legs in oversized, elaborately decorated denim. JNCO short for “jean company,” is a Los Angeles based clothing company who specialized in wide-legged jean styles for men and women that gained popularity in the ’90s . Yeah, let’s bring these back, along with random escalator fatalities, or something like that.

I’m not sure the teenagers will give up their skinny style just yet. However, if you been to anime cons or comic cons, or heard of Kandi Kids, I am pretty sure that group has already given their up skinny jeans. Of course don’t get me started on leggings. (of which I still retain one pair in my drawer) The real satire of stretch pants is that they were probably endorsed by the new world order as a way to reduce human propagation.

But, I fondly remember the Howick Star Jeans that I sold hundreds of once upon a time in the 70s. The best memory is of a wasp that once flew up my wide leg and got caught in my Ballroom jeans and attacked me. How about the memories of wearing those wide-legged frayed hemmed wonders while walking on a rain soaked sidewalk or in deep Canadian snow? Did that equal a miserable disaster for anyone? What was the word most associated with people who wore these pants? ‘Poser’– remember that one?

For anyone that did not know the Howick legend- it had an Ottawa connection. Ray, who used to own the Black Cat Bistro in the 70s at Hawthorne and Colonel By just off the Pretoria Bridge in Ottawa was the man behind the trend. Ray not only had a bistro, he also had a very cool fashion store on Bank Street. It’s never about being best in life, it is being better than you were yesterday- and that is what Ray was all about. During many frequent visits to my store, Flash Cadilac, the man who wore an eye patch told me many stories about the concept of the Howick Star Jean, or what we called Howick Ballroom Jeans.



The trend lasted barely a couple of years but it went from one big star to 4 stars and eventually died out. Yes, it found its way to that great Museum of Cool in the sky along with the Members Only jackets. Happiness is fitting into an old pair of jeans– but in doing research for this blog I could not find nary a mention of the Howick Ballroom Jeans in the fashion archives. Did the style become like disco, and were they suddenly related to being uncool, never to be mentioned again? Fashion always seems to be a repetition of what is cool- and if JNCO is back, let’s bring the Howick Ballroom Jeans back.





Shanon Bowers—Cleaning out my stash of vintage clothing and came across these. Enjoy 

download (3)

Montreal 1975— watch for the Howick Jeans store


1974 GatineausHowick Ballroom Jeans on

95 Beech Street — 100 Years—-Cream Jeans and “I Love I Love My Calendar Girls”

Both Skinny Jeans and Hotels need “Ball Room”

I Seldom Wash My Jeans – Personal Confessions

No! That’s NOT just MY size!

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

4 responses »

  1. I see this post is dated 2015; it is now March 5, 2022. Thank you for putting this up, with photographs. It is almost as though Howick Apparel disappeared without a trace, with every pair of the jeans they made. It was a bold look, and it’s hard to believe the elephant jeans went mainstream, but I was there too, and every Canadian youth had to have them. Levi’s barely registered in Canada, during that time. Though the collections of LSD-inspired Levi’s commercials now on Youtube offer an entertaining take on what jeans and clothes were about at the time. I have been looking for a pair of these Howicks (as we called the) for years, they hardly ever come up, anywhere


  2. Ray Desforges created the star Howick jeans he also had a great store on Rideau st in Ottawa, mostly of his creations. He also had the first cafe in Ottawa on the driveway Au Pigeon Blue. He also had many more clubs in the market area. His last design was stolen from him by Howick himself (so sad). I know all this because he was the father of my child Excedera. He has passed on but I will never forget him he we so talented and loved by many


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