In business since 1978, we've been importing genuine American clothing ever since and have built a strong identity and reputation in the North East. Why settle for high street knock-offs and fake 'retro' clothing when you can own an original, often for a lot less!
Drummer, John Woods, returned to Newcastle following the breakup of London band, Vinegar Joe. The singers in Vinegar Joe were Robert Palmer (Addicted to Love) and Elkie Brooks (Pearl’s a Singer).
Robert went solo and John was tour manager for his 1976, “Pressure Drop” tour in America. John then rejoined local rock and blues band Junco Partners, with whom he had been playing before living
Popularised in the 60s at the time of the Animals, the Junco Partners often gigged at the Club Agogo in Percy Street, Newcastle, a venue where many famous acts played such as Eric Clapton, Long John Baldry, John Mayall, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Memphis Slim and Zoot Money’s Big Roll band.
In May 1978, John opened a vintage clothing and footwear store called “Frisco” in the Handyside Arcade, Percy Street, Newcastle, which was the first stockist of Brooks Boots - a white leather padded baseball boot with a red leather monogram. Sales of both clothing and footwear did well but the Handyside Arcade was due to be demolished, against public opinion, to make way for the Eldon Square Shopping complex. The business moved temporarily to Ridley Place, and then on to Cross Street, Newcastle.
John travelled frequently to London on buying trips and struck up a business relationship with Paul of Flip in the King’s Road, London. Paul wanted John to adopt the name “Flip of Hollywood” for the Cross Street store, similar to a franchise arrangement. John agreed to this providing the shop remained independent.
“Flip of Hollywood,” was the name of Paul’s new store in Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California, ran by himself and his London Fashion Designer partner. Large new stores opened in Covent Garden and Shoreditch in London, New York and franchises to Glasgow and Edinburgh amongst others.
The demand for vintage clothing, especially Levi 501s, grew as people craved individuality in fashion and turned away from mainstream stores. The success of the Newcastle Flip was mainly due to the wide range of items sold, both vintage and new, all imported from America.
From Military Field jackets to Kimonos, Baseball jerseys to evening Dresses, Waterproof macs/trench coats to Western wear, it had the lot.
There was always a massive range of alternate sounds playing in-store to help customers feel the buzz whilst shopping. Mostly American music, we played Hip Hop, Doo Wop, Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Funk, you name it.
We still play the same great music and we still sell all kinds of fantastic stock that's always entirely from the states. This won't ever change!
John’s illness, in late 2011, forced early retirement but his son took on the store and plans to keep it rocking for years to come, in-store and online too
Here's a short Metro Radio advert for Frisco on an old cassette tape I found from over 40 years ago!
Click here to listen
It's with great sadness and a heavy heart for me to tell you all that my dad John Woods passed away on the 8th June 2019.
After setting up a shop called Frisco in the Handyside Arcade, John founded FLIP in Newcastle back in 1978 and he continued until 2011. He was also a great drummer who played with The Jody Grind, Bell and Arc, Jackson Heights, Vinegar Joe and The Junco Partners.
He loved to share his knowledge and passion for music and clothing (and everything in between) with everyone he met.
A big man with an even bigger heart, he made such an impression on so many people and we'll all miss him very much.
I'm continuing his legacy as best I can. I really appreciate the kind words and love for my dad over the years from our many loyal customers. He was an absolute legend.
Thanks to everyone who's supported my dad and Flip over the past 40 years, it means the world. Nick.
Other tributes found on this Chronicle link