It was all a happy accident, Japan’s favorite casual clothing brand says.

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.

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