The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California( see below)
I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes
I learned some valuable lessons during my initial employments. One of the most important things I noticed was never let your paramours be involved in your business. I watched short-duration girlfriends be allowed to become fashion buyers and awarded free living quarters for their unqualified work. Eventually, the boss realized running a few residences could drain his finances quickly and make or break any future retail developments in mind.
Sometimes when the girlfriends, aka buyers, were ceremoniously dumped; the style direction their stores took was disastrous. But then again on rare occasions, a change in buyers every few months kept their styles current and fresh. But I watched them as I hemmed pants, and loved it when a few clever ladies brought in recycled clothing to sell. I was impressed that it was made so well that the inside looked almost as good as the outside.
In the 70’s vintage clothing began to evolve, and some of the cool stores I went to in NYC like Reminiscence on MacDougal Street mixed surplus and vintage together to create a unique fashion style. There was such an upsurge in the vintage fashion trends that Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy came out with the great book called Cheap Chic in 1975. This particular book, considered a fashion Bible is worth almost 100 dollars if you find it and re-sell it today.
When I opened my store Flash Cadilac, there were very few thrifts stores in Ottawa except for The Salvation Army, Ste. Vincent de Paul, and Neighbourhood Services. Local vintage fashion stores included: “Yes We Have No Bananas” on Elgin Street, Paddlin Maddlin’s, and Ragtime on Bank Street, and of course my friend Catherine Landry’s shop’s “Pennies From Heaven.”
The quest for good vintage finds in Canada was sparse and I used to go to Flushing, N.Y. and buy 500 pound bales of “silks” which cost me 50 cents a pound. The first time we bought such a bale we crushed the roof of the rental car we were driving when the forklift put it on top of the car. We had no clue about customs forms, and when the agent at Ogdensburg, N.Y. didn’t want to deal with us, he sent us to Prescott Ontario.
Arriving at the Prescott border the agent looked at us and the load on top of the car we had just driven 12 hours with and dryly said,“Ya got forms for this?”We had no idea that all commercial products brought into Canada needed forms and duty had to be paid.Needless to say the Canadian customs also made us cut the compressed clothing bale open. I don’t think I need to tell you what 500 pounds of compression looks like when it’s finally free. Three trips to the Canadian customs office on Carling Avenue and 10 station wagon trips later made from Prescott, N.Y. to Ottawa– we learned about importing the hard way.
At that point fashionistas were just beginning to realize that vintage was just not wearing old clothing. The fabrics and quality of vintage clothing were better because they were all made here. Gradually through the years what’s old is new again and today’s malls seem to contain stores of endless disposable clothing. When I was a child of the 50’s my mother used to say, “you dress appropriately because nobody likes an eyesore”. After all Grandma didn’t wear Pink stretch pants that had the word “Juicy” plastered across their rear ends.
The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California
I was pretty naive when I opened the store in 1976. Ordered 5000 bags from a salesman thinking they would be in customers hands in a month. LOLOL
Had no idea they werebeing made in India and they took the slow boat to China back to Ottawa. Little over a year later they arrived. Boxes and boxes and boxes… and yes we had to go to customs to pick those up too.
Click on photo to see description…
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
04 Dec 1986, Thu • Page 56
Amanda Lynne Jamieson —– Linda Seccaspina! I thought I’d share a fun childhood memory with you. I was only about 6 years old so some of the details are vague but just the same, I remember it fondly.
One hot summer day, our teenage babysitter decided to take my brother and me on the bus from Gatineau to downtown Ottawa so she could go shopping. Our adventure included a stop in at your store Flash Cadilac which in turn became a very fun glitter fight! My babysitter then tried to rush us home to get cleaned up before my mom got home. But we were caught when we ended up on the same bus as mom! Sorry for the mess but thanks for the memories!
Happy 2023 Amanda..
Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1
Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1
Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976
Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac
The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story
Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story
Flash Cadilac -Sex Lies and Video Tape?
Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac
Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!