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Why is Uniqlo spelled with a Q?

13 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Uniqlo might seem like a strange name, unless you know that the Japanese casual clothing chain’s monicker is meant as a mash-up of the words “unique clothing.” Except, even if you know that, it’s still kind of a strange name. If you’re combining “unique” and “clothing,” why take four letters from the first word and only two from the second? Doesn’t lopping off the C from “clothing” actually make Uniqlo a combination of “unique” and the non-existent “lothing?”

Here’s the thing, though: once upon a time, Uniqlo did call itself “Uniclo,” and it only got that Q because someone screwed up some paperwork, as alluded to in this Instagram post from the Uniqlo official account, which also shows off some cool retro logos the brand used to use and reminds us that prior to 2006, the Uniqlo logo was a darker shade of red than the bright hue it uses now.

When the first Uniqlo branch opened all the way back in 1984, its logo was a red triangle with a pair of illustrated people holding hands above the English words “Unique Clothing Warehouse,” since initially they also sold fashion items from other manufacturers. “Unique Clothing Warehouse” is a bit of a mouthful when pronounced by Japanese speakers, though (it becomes something like “yuniku kurojingu ueahausu”), so they decided to combine the first two words and drop the third for their official Japanese name. As seen in the video, their signage also had the katakana ユニ・クロ, with a dividing dot between the abbreviated “Uni” and “Clo,” to further emphasize the two-part meaning of the name.

At this time, the chain’s official English rendering was Uniclo, with a C. However, in 1988 the company was expanding the scale of its operations, and decided to establish a joint-venture product buying company in Hong Kong. The business name couldn’t be registered in Japanese text for its Hong Kong paperwork, but their local partner who was filling in the forms mistakenly wrote “Uniqlo,” with a Q.

When Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo’s founder and president, saw the mistake, instead of being upset about it he thought it actually looked cooler than then “Uniclo,” and so he made the decision to change the spelling of their stores in Japan to Uniqlo too, and they’ve stuck with that spelling, in all countries, ever since.

And hey, when you think about it, it makes a certain kind of sense that the company that started off as “Unique Clothing Warehouse” should have a unique spelling for its name.

Sources: Instagram/uniqlo_jp via IT Media, Gendai Digital, Yomiuri Shimbun, Brand Shamei Logo Mark Yurai Jiten

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13 Comments
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The "q" does look a lot cooler than a "c", although of course that could be because that's how we all know it.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I was under the impression that it stood for questionable labour practices.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

"I was under the impression that it stood for questionable labour practices."

Uniqlo makes good clothes and is innocent of these old unproven claims about Uyghur labor. It's a shame a good brand's name was tarnished by NGOs with an obvious political agenda.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

makes store called Uniclo and starts competing with Uniqlo

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

UniQlo use to sell cheap, crappy clothes for house wearing or just casual outside strolls.

Nowadays, even if they kept the same unfashionable and boring clothes, their prices callously increased, that you might think the company is something of a fashionable brand.

Good luck to them, but no thank you anymore.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Uniqlo, Zara owners face new Paris lawsuit over Uyghur forced labor

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Retail/Uniqlo-Zara-owners-face-new-Paris-lawsuit-over-Uyghur-forced-labor

UNIQLO/Fast Retailing Co/Ltd business model is repellent, reliant on the companies China manufacturing base.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The question here is not Why is Uniqlo spelled with a Q?

It is the issue, I suggest of corporate shareholder greed, turning a blind eye of Uniqlo supply chain operation transparency in China.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

All their clothes are average and boring though ?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yes, at a first glance and with knowledge of some English language, 'unique clothing' surely might be the correct and obvious meaning and association. but internationally it's quite a linguistic catastrophe. For example, I am German and so my first time associations were either 'unique low' , using the first English language association that comes to mind, as the words clothes and clothing are more difficult to Germans, or even worse when thinking directly in German language, it becomes 'Uni plus Klo' which adds up to an university toilet or an uni type toilet , those used for and by all genders. Of course I know that they sell clothes, but always the rather negative associations or wrong meanings of the brand swing in, whenever entering their stores.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, at a first glance and with knowledge of some English language, 'unique clothing' surely might be the correct and obvious meaning and association. but internationally it's quite a linguistic catastrophe. For example, I am German and so my first time associations were either 'unique low' , using the first English language association that comes to mind, as the words clothes and clothing are more difficult to Germans, or even worse when thinking directly in German language, it becomes 'Uni plus Klo' which adds up to an university toilet or an uni type toilet , those used for and by all genders. Of course I know that they sell clothes, but always the rather negative associations or wrong meanings of the brand swing in, whenever entering their stores.

Good thing Germany is not their target market.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A great company.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

once upon a time, Uniqlo did call itself “Uniclo,” and it only got that Q because someone screwed up some paperwork

So "Uniqlo" is really just Engrish???

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No gonna deny, I called it Uni Glo for years and years. guess Im an idiot on every front.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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