RAG: First beginnings
Long before RAG was founded, the founder, Reinhard Ehrenböck, developed a passion for fashion, especially streetwear. After graduating from high school, at the age of 19, he drove his VW Beetle to the bulky waste pit in Wiener Neustadt almost every day. There he brought home piles of clothes from the 50s and 60s. After a short time, however, he had so many clothes that he hardly knew what to do with them. This gave him the idea of opening a second-hand store in Vienna called “Rag” (“rag” in German).
RAG: First beginnings
RAG was finally founded in 1984 together with Barbara Ulrich. The first store was in the 3rd district of Vienna on Esteplatz in a semi-basement location. Back then we sold 2nd hand fashion from the 50s and 60s – rockabilly and mod style.
In 1987, after a long search, we finally found a second store in the best area for trendy fashion at the time, Judengasse in Vienna’s 1st district. At that time, we had five employees. When we opened, we started importing new goods from England. It all started with the famous Dr. Martens and the mod brand Cavern, which included the James Jacket and the Harrington Jacket in its range. Over time, the 2nd hand range declined more and more and more new goods such as Cox Creepers, used Levis 501’s and Converse Hi Chucks, college jackets and Chelsea boots were integrated into the range. Cool 80s brands such as Hysteric Glamour, Komono, Red or Dead, Boy London and Fluevog Shoes were added.
In 1990 we started with our office and central warehouse in Simmering, which had grown to 1000m2 by the time we moved to our current office (incl. warehouse) in 2010.
Then came the 90s with hip hop and streetwear from the USA. Those were the days when people partied with Afrika Bambaataa in a vacant building on the Lower East Side! Inspired by the US, we opened our third store in the SCS in Vösendorf in 1991, despite all the prophecies of doom (how uncool). The brands from back then were 555 Soul, PNP Nation, Ecko, Fubu, Phat Farm, Upper Playground and X Large.
In 1993, we opened our largest store to date, our fourth branch at the time, on the corner of Sterngasse and Judengasse in Vienna’s 1st district. We already had around 20 employees and we are still proud of the “Alter Turnsaal” furnishing concept today. Brands included Airwalk, Carhartt, Caterpillar Boots, Black Flys Eyewear, and Dickies O Dog Pants!
In 1996, the first branch was opened at Mariahilferstrasse 17 in Vienna (opposite the current branch in Mariahilferstrasse) and our first website www.rag.co.at was launched. At that time, however, the homepage was only used to present products; it was not yet possible to store. We now had around 30 employees, and the brands back then were Vans, Etnies, DC Shoes, ES, Blunt, Kik Wear, Tribal, Rude Boy, Jansport, Fila and Karl Kani.
In November 2000, we were finally able to enlarge our branch in the SCS to 350m2 and realize our new store concept.
We continued straight away in April 2001 with the opening of our first store in Linz. In November 2001, we started with our “Big Baby” (1000m2) at Mariahilferstrasse 20 (our current branch on Mariahilferstrasse).
In 2002, our second branch, the RAG Supreme (no, we didn’t steal the name, we named our skate store concept “RAG Supreme” back in 2001 – long before the Supreme hype) in Judengasse in Vienna’s 1st district, closes. The Supreme skate store concept will be concentrated in the Rag store at Mariahilferstrasse 17 in Vienna’s 6th district.
In 2003, we closed our once best store, Sterngasse, with a heavy heart, as the once bustling Judengasse and Sterngasse area was now surrounded by cheap tequila bars – and their customers. Subsequently, we close our last RAG Supreme store at Mariahilfertstraße 17 and decide to withdraw from the hardware business completely.
2010 Completion of the Rag warehouse/office south of Vienna and subsequent relocation.
2011 In May, we open our first Styrian store in Shoppingcity Seiersberg with around 6 employees.
1 month later… welcome at rag-shop.com Our online store was born!
In 2014 , we opened a new branch in the Fischapark shopping center in Wiener Neustadt.
In 2020 we decided to close all our mall stores! The steady growth in online sales and the trend for brands to sell their products directly to customers made it uneconomical to continue.
RAG today Back to the Roots! We have revitalized our old logo and the range has undergone a significant upgrade in the direction of prime streetwear. The company is still owned by Reinhard Ehrenböck. He is now actively supported by his four daughters.