Edith Flagg built a multi–million–dollar fashion empire through her innovative use of polyester. Born Edith Feuerstein and raised in Romania, she returned to Vienna to study fashion at age fifteen. When the Nazis invaded in 1938, she fled to the Netherlands and then Poland, joining the resistance as a freedom fighter. After the war, she briefly worked on a kibbutz before immigrating to the US, where she found work as a seamstress in 1948. In 1956 she launched her clothing line, Edith Flagg, Inc. Four years later, she learned about a new fabric, polyester, and realized the advantages of cloth that had the thickness and drape of wool with no danger of wrinkles or shrinkage. She leveraged an exclusive contract to import Crimplene, a British polyester fabric, and eventually built her company up to a net worth of $100 million. She also wrote columns for Women’s Wear Daily on fashion trends. In 2000, she retired to focus on philanthropy, supporting causes like the United Jewish Welfare Fund and the City of Hope Hospital in California, but returned to the limelight frequently by offering business advice to her grandson, Josh Flagg, on the TV show Million Dollar Listing.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Edith Flagg." (Viewed on March 1, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/flagg-edith>.