MARKETING

How a Clerical Error Defined a Brand

The naming of UNIQLO

Edward Thomas
ILLUMINATION
Published in
1 min readJun 10, 2024

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UNIQLO Logo
UNIQLO Logo (Source)

Why do so many things in life that seem like well-planned genius often turn out to be the result of accident or error?

This is precisely what happened with the UNIQLO brand.

Company founder Tadashi Yanai originally named his company “Uniclo,” a combination of “unique” and “clothing.” During the company’s expansion into Hong Kong in 1988, however, a clerical error resulted in the company being registered as “UNIQLO.”

Yanai loved the new name so much that he changed the entire company’s official company to match, giving birth to a globally recognized fashion brand.

“Unique Clothing Warehouse” was founded in Hiroshima in 1984, initially selling fashion items from various sources.

It later shifted focus to its own lineup of high-quality, affordable items, paving the way for international success.

From a clerical error to a strategic brand identity, UNIQLO continues to shape the international clothing industry with its commitment to quality and design.

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Edward Thomas
ILLUMINATION

Chicago | Japan since 1969 | Japanese>English translator, editor | Teaches English at Japanese University. | Buy me a ko-fi @ ko-fi.com/edwardthomas