Flagg Brothers - Reader's Comments


 

The year was 1976, and style was in full effect for the Black man, as it had been for quite some time.  In California, Flagg Bros provided the footwear by which style was defined.  There were others such as Jarman's, Florsheim's, and Hardys, but Flagg Bros was widely acknowledged amongst the local cool cats, pretty boys and wanna-be Players as thee spot for shoes.  "Kicks," as we called them in L.A., were a necessary statement to set off the look of new vines (stylish clothing) and old glad-rags.   
 
Although I was no Player or Hustler in any sense of the word, (my Father did not play that!) I began to gravitate towards my taste for style, riding the coattail of my older brother.  Flagg Bros was located in Huntington Park, at the corner of Gage and Pacific Blvd.  I passed the store front daily as I walked to the # 356 bus stop.  Flagg Bros was known for introducing the hippest styles, in the baddest colors at a price you could afford.  The selection was second to none.  They sold stylish contemporary leather shoes with standard heels, in colors I didn't even know a cow came in!  Green, Tan, Orange, Burnt Orange, Rust Orange, Burgundy, Beige, White, Blue, Sky Blue, Red, Maroon, Brown, Yellow, even Pink, and of course, classic Black.  Flagg Bros had it all.  A funky psychedelic rainbow of selective variety was always at your disposal.  But the baddest, boldest, cold-blooded look of the day were platform shoes, made with and without "bubble toes," offered in a variety of heel and sole styles, ranging from solid bases to laminated wood layers (and later synthetic neoprene), in a variety of solid colors, two tone and multi-hue blends, stitched patterns, with or without stipples, the choice was yours and nobody sold badder "stacks" than Flagg Bros.  From tasteful yet sensible 3/4" platforms to 3" monster plats (aka Gorgons) as we called them, Flagg Bros supplied the funk.  Slip-ons, lace-ups, zipper clad, ankle high oxfords to bubble-toe boots, Flagg Bros fulfilled your wishes.     
 
My first pair of Flagg Bros platforms were classic in two regards.  Number one, they were solid Black and number two, they had been proudly worn by my brother the prior year.  Yes indeed, they were hand-me-downs, but no less in stature.  Now I proudly donned this seemingly magical pair of shoes.  I was now apart of the in-crowd, accepted by, and running with the cool cats.  I entered the new found territory of interacting with young ladies, riding in the front seat of the six-six (1966 Impala), enjoying my indoctrination to entry-level notoriety and experimentation with a mellow drink called Ripple. -- Pagan Pink Ripple.
 
Flagg Bros was the home of style, footwear and hosiery.  A pair of Flagg Bros shoes allowed everyday cats such as myself to compete with, and possess the look of, a Ganza Boy.  That was our name for the real Pimps, true Players and serious Hustlers who had the money to be suited and booted by "Eleganza," (Chicago, 60609), the undisputed mail-order King and Mack haberdashery Mecca.  I, like my brother and running buddies, was hooked on Flagg.  Not only did we check in on a regular basis to see the latest arrivals, and get the first pick, we were buying duplicate sets of the same style shoe just to keep a backup on hand. -- Sometime the platform base would separate from the shoe...  We brought so much business to Flagg Bros, our silk socks, polish and extra shoe laces were included free.    
 
By 1982, I had no reason to pass thru Huntington Park any longer.  Gone was the need for the 356 bus, the area's entertainment (Pacific Theatre), and consequently Flagg Bros.  Platform shoes were played out, and once again following the lead of my older brother, and changing times, I had graduated to the next level.  The look of Ray Parker Jr's ("The Other Woman") album cover cued our transition.  The 6-6 Impala, funky Pimp styling of a 70s Player and my 8-track tape was old news.  Now, it was all about being "fresh," that smooth and suave laid back thing, with Jheri curls in a "Nouveau" style for that Belizean look, and music played on cassette in Dolby sound.  Oh, one other thing... The drink of choice now was Cognac. -- Remy, warmed politely, served in a snifter.  
 
So long Flagg Bros, Zodys, Ripple and the girl I let get away on the 356 bus...
 
 
Rick James Roberts

That is probably the most requested information that I am contacted about.
Everyone seems to want more information about Flagg Brothers, but they or nothing about them seems to exist anymore. We can't even seem to agree on what city they were in. Some say Philly, some say Atlanta, and some say Memphis.
 
Even Billy Joel talks about them in the lyrics of his song "Keeping The Faith"
As best that I can tell the company most have been sued by someone. There is a reference to the case in the law books (Flagg Brothers v Brooks in Rhode Island), that went at least to the US Court of Appeals. 
We're keeping an eye on it, looking for more info.
 Thanks for reading us.
 

My uncle used to shine shoes in front of the Flagg Brothers Shoe Store in Philadelphia...may have been Main & Erie...not sure but wondering if someone had old pictures of the store.
Mhbcalto -

That's amazing. I get email from 2 or 3 people a year, asking about some Flagg Brothers memorabilia, and nobody seems to have anything. We can't get any information - not even an old catalog. But keep checking, perhaps somebody will eventually come up with something :)

 Thanks for reading us. Editor.
 

Hey there DMG! I was checking out info on Flagg Brothers myself and came
across your item.
I wore Flagg Brothers boots from 1968-1972. They weren't the platforms, but
were a type of stylish riding boot. We had a Flagg Brothers Shoe Store (same
company as the catalog company) in the center of Rochester NY on Main Street.
As I recall, the shoe boxes were marked with a label that stated:
Flagg Brothers Shoes, Philadelphia, PA.
I sure wish I could order from them again!
Best Wishes to You!
XLDude - Billings Montana


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