Last Updated: December 20, 2023
Richest BusinessDesigners
Net Worth:
$100 Million
Nov 1, 1919 - Aug 13, 2014 (94 years old)
💰 Compare Edith Flagg's Net Worth

What was Edith Flagg's Net Worth?

Edith Flagg was an Austrian-born American fashion designer, fashion industry executive, and philanthropist who had a net worth of $100 million at the time of her death in 2014. Edith Flagg was the first designer to import polyester as a fashion textile to the United States.

She launched Edith Flagg, Inc. in 1956, and the clothing line remained popular, and relevant, until she retired in 2000. She famously brought polyester to America after finding the fabric in Switzerland. Throughout it's nearly 50 years, the line was well known for its popular dresses. Both Edith and her husband wrote articles and editorials for Women's Wear Daily and California Apparel News. They also co-authored a weekly column called, "By the Way". Additionally, both she and her husband were members of the Advisory Board of Directors of Manufacturers Bank.

In her later years Edith Flag returned to the spotlight when her grandson, Josh Flagg, began starring on the reality series, Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. Flagg also made a name for herself over the course of her life through her philanthropic works. She was a regular donor to the United Jewish Welfare Fund, as well as the City of Hope private hospital located in California. After retiring in 2000 to devote herself to philanthropy full-time, she even donated the proceeds from her book, "A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me," to the Jewish Federation. On August 13, 2014 Edith passed away at the age of 94.

Early Life

Edith Flagg was born on November 1, 1919 in Vienna Austria to a Jewish family. She was raised in Galati, Romania where her father worked as a photographer. At the age of 15, she went back to Vienna where she studied fashion and remained there through her teenage years. In 1938, when Hitler annexed Austria, she fled to the Netherlands with her boyfriend, Hans Stein. She then took on the identity of the deceased Lydia Voskuilen. While there, she began working for the Dutch underground resistance. She then moved to the United States in 1948.

(Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)


Flagg began her career after arriving in New York as a seamstress. She soon afterward progressed to design. When she moved to Los Angeles in 1949, she began working in the Garment District. She began her first line of dresses in 1956 with a $2,000 investment of her own savings. She called her clothing line Edith Flagg, Inc. Her line was manufactured in the United States from the 1950s until her retirement from the fashion industry in 2000. The brand was characterized by its wrinkle-resistant knitwear.

Flagg is notably known for being the first person to import polyester in the United States and popularize it. She discovered a type of polyester called Crimplene which was being produced in Leeds, England. The material had been used for parachutes and military uniforms during World War II. Following the end of the war, there was a surplus of the material. Flagg discovered the fabric while vacationing in Switzerland during the 1960s. She struck an exclusive advertising contract with DuPont to import the synthetic fabric. The fabric helped Edith Flagg, Inc. expand from being a successful dress manufacturing company in Los Angeles to an international design house with offices and showrooms around the world in cities like new York, San Francisco, London, Atlanta, and a factory in Hong Kong.

In addition to managing her clothing company, Flagg was an active contributor to "California Apparel News" and "Women's Wear Daily" where she wrote a weekly column titled "By the Way." In her later years, she often appeared on the television show "Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles" as her grandson, Josh Flagg, was one of the real estate agents on the show. She would appear in scenes giving business advice to her grandson. Her grandson had also published a book in 2009 called "A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me," a book about his grandmother's survival during World War II and her subsequent career.

Flagg was also a noted philanthropist. She was a donor to the United Jewish Welfare Fund, a Jewish non-profit organization. Additionally, she contributed to the City of Hope, a private hospital in California. Flagg retired from fashion in 2000 to focus on her philanthropy. Flagg and her husband were the recipients of multiple awards from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and The United Jewish Welfare Fund.

Personal Life and Death

Flagg married her boyfriend, Hans Stein, in 1938 after the two moved to the Netherlands. She had a child, Michael, while living in the Netherlands under the assumed identity, Lydia Voskuilen. She hid Michael in a sanitarium and would pose as a nurse in order to be able to visit him. Her husband, Stein, was captured by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz where he was murdered in 1944. After Stein died, she met her second husband, Erich Simon Flagenheimer, while working for the Dutch underground resistance. They were responsible for saving several lives and got married after the war. Flagenheimer moved to the United States ahead of his wife while Flagg and Michael lived on a kibbutz in Palestine. They later followed Flagenheimer to New York in 1948 and later moved to San Francisco to live with Flagenheimer's parents. In 1949, she settled with her family in Los Angeles. She and Flagenheimer remained married until his death in 1999.

Flagg spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, Romanian, English, French, German, and Dutch. She lived in a penthouse in The Century Towers on the Avenue of the Stars, Century City in Los Angeles. She and Flagenheimer had purchased the penthouse from Jack Benny in 1976 for the highest price recorded for a penthouse at that time.

On August 13, 2014, Flagg died of natural causes in her penthouse in Century City at the age of 94. She was buried in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Culver City, California. The reception took place at the Hillcrest Country Club.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction