KNOW YOUR FLAG: Stylish History


Originally from the Great Lakes State and now in the Land of Lincoln, Meng Yang’s design principles are based off of midwestern values –  honest, hard-working and straightforward. Know Your Flag is a visual tribute for Meng’s love of Chicago’s rich and inspiring history. In his freetime, Meng rides his bike year-round and his biggest pet peeve is ketchup on a kosher dog.
Chicago Hustles: has a few words with local clothing brand Know Your Flag  about Chicago history, fashion & hustle.

The name of your brand is “Know Your Flag” what is the history behind the name and the concept of the brand? Know Your Flag was born out of a combination of creative frustration and satisfaction. At the time, I was looking to create personal work that was meaningful to me due to unsatisfying professional, career work. So, I started researching Chicago history for amusement and that’s when I discovered the Chicago flag and its meaning. It was an awe-struck moment for me learning how simple of a design the Chicago flag is yet it carries so much meaning. And, from there I thought if I just discovered how cool the Chicago flag is, there had to be other Chicagoan’s who’d feel the same way once they knew. Hence, Know Your Flag was born and the overall concept of the brand has been to discover and re-interpret the city’s history.

Chicago Hustles: Its hundreds of concepts in the fashion world so why did you choose to mesh Chicago history with fashion in particular?

The one thing that most people associate ‘history’ with is being ‘old-fashioned’. So ‘history’ in general has this perspective of being vanilla-colored, bland, boring, like an ancient turtle that takes its sweet time. But, if you change the perspective and approach it from a different angle, you can make history interesting. And what better way to communicate Chicago history than a t-shirt.

Chicago Hustles: When we initially met you put Chicago Hustles onto some serious Chicago history. Do you do this with every person who encounters your brand? 

I’m very conversational about Chicago history rather than educational or else I’d sound like a tour/museum guide. Plus, I enjoy talking to Chicagoans about our common bond, Chicago.

Chicago Hustles: Why do FEEL it is important to mesh the history with the brand. Is the brands goal education or stylish fashion?

My approach for Know Your Flag has always been about making history visually appealing. History can be exciting and stylish, it just depends on how you dress it. The problem usually is how do I make an ill-forgotten piece of history relevant and the solution either manifests itself to a piece of art or a t-shirt.

Chicago Hustles: Where do you plan to take the brand in the year 2012?

Well, seeing how I’ve grown up in the Midwest, I’m hoping to explore the history of other Midwestern cities.

Chicago Hustles: In your opinion what is the most single important piece of history EVERY CHICAGOAN should know?

Know the the municipal ‘Y’. It is everywhere in Chicago and it is the most neglected piece of design that is incorporated unto bridges, buildings, etc. It is a ‘Y’ shaped crest/design that represents the Chicago River, dividing and branching off north and south.

Chicago Hustles: Will you be showcasing any new tees for the locals in Chicago anytime soon?

Very soon. Got a few up my sleeve.

Chicago Hustles: Where can Chicagoans who support local clothing lines find Know Your Flag?

You can find Know Your Flag on and also available at the Haymaker Shop (in Andersonville) and the Inkling Shop(in Lakeview).

Chicago Hustles: What or how do you as a local Chicago clothing brand/ entrepreneur define the term HUSTLE?

HUSTLE means working your tail off, night and day, to do what you love. would like to thank Know Your Flag for taking time out to speak with us.

Find Know Your Flag here: