What Does the Name Uniqlo Mean?

When a mistake goes well.

Last Updated on September 21, 2023

Ever wondered what Uniqlo means? If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over the name of the popular high street brand, I’m here to fill you in. But first, a little bit of back story. Uniqlo opened its first store in Ube, Yamaguchi, in 1972, before the brand cemented its name in Japanese fashion as well as in the international market. With over 1,000 stores globally, the brand isn’t just shoppable in Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, but now the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and more. But did you know that before they became one of the World’s largest retailers, the brand’s name was invented by accident?

Before we dive deeper into Uniqlo’s rich history and success, read more about their recently released collaboration with Roger Federer and designer JW Anderson, as well as the collection with Clare Waight Keller, the designer behind Meghan Markle’s iconic wedding dress.

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5 uniqlo models wearing uniqlo clothing

What does Uniqlo mean?

Uniqlo has an interesting story about how it started and how it got its name. The original name of the brand, founded by Tadashi Yanai, was Unique Clothing Warehouse. After inheriting his father’s chain of stores featuring 22 men’s tailoring shops, he added female garments and rebranded the company as Unique Clothing Warehouse. While it began offering bespoke suits to men, the brand now offers ready-made clothing at a cheap price. Yanai’s new venture became a huge hit with local consumers. As the brand slowly made a name for itself, the company planned on registering it with a shortened name, which is ‘Uni-Clo,’ short for ‘Unique Clothing.’ Instead of going for it, a staff member accidentally listed it as ‘Uniqlo’, creating an iconic and recognisable name by accident.

How do you pronounce Uniqlo?

In case you are wondering how to pronounce the brand the right way, it’s a three-syllable word pronounced ‘You-knee-klow.’ However, Japanese people pronounce it differently. Instead of three syllables, they pronounce it in four: ‘You-knee-coo-row.’

Where is the biggest Uniqlo store in the world?

While their stores are everywhere, the largest physical store is located in Japan at Ginza in Tokyo. The store opened in 2012 and boasts an incredible 12 floors. It has a wide selection of apparel for men, women and kids, as well as a dedicated maternity section.

Uniqlo Ginza store