Shag rugs are a type of carpet that is characterized by having a deep, thick pile, which gives the carpet a shaggy appearance (hence the name). Pile is usually made of strands of yarn or upright loops, and it is the part of the rug that faces up from the backing. Synonymous with 70’s culture, the shag rug is a cultural icon, and is reemerging today with newfound popularity. With that in mind, Floor Coverings International of Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR presents the history of the shag carpet.
Flokati Rugs and the Ancient World
While there is a very distinct association of shag rugs with the 1960’s and 1970’s, these carpet options are actually much older than that. The first shag carpets were known as Flokati and came from ancient Greece, where they were hand woven from goat hair. These Flokati rugs were used so that people could sit comfortably on the ground and keep their feet warm. Shag rugs were also common in Turkey and Central Asia where they were favored by royalty and decorated palaces. Whatever the shag carpet’s current reputation is, it certainly has an illustrious origin story.
The 60’s and 70’s
The 1960’s and 1970’s in America were when shag carpeting really skyrocketed to popularity. Readily available wall-to-wall carpeting was still a relatively new phenomenon, only being a couple decades old, and the urge to experiment was high. The unique and unorthodox look of shag carpeting was perfect for a generation experimenting and experiencing a cultural shift. It was beloved by hippies, and the new color TV’s showed off shag in the houses of families like the Brady Bunch. Due to experimentation with manufacturing processes, shags came in a whole new variety of colors, so people got creative with them, leading to shags in quintessential 70’s greens and oranges. This was the era of shag, when not only was carpet shag; shag was also a dance, and a hairstyle. The fluffy fashionableness of shag ruled the era.
Shag Carpet Today
Recently, shag has surged to popularity again, with new carpet materials and manufacturing techniques leading to softer and more durable shags (preferably with less brown and orange color schemes). Many people have turned to shag out of nostalgia, while others just love the feel of a soft shag carpet. To all of us at Floor Coverings International of Vancouver and Portland, shag will never die.
Photo: Oleksandr Berezko