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31 Facts You Didn’t Know About Uniqlo

Test-driving clothes, Pinterest hacking, and the world’s most weirdly specific thread count.

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters/ Alexis Nedd

1. Uniqlo made the uniforms for Japan’s Olympic team in 1998, 2002, and 2004.

2. Uniqlo distributes recycled clothing to refugee camps around the world. As of March 2014, they have donated 11.29 million items of clothing to refugees, victims of disasters, the homeless, and needy families worldwide.

3. Uniqlo’s name comes from the words “Unique Clothing,” which throws back to the company’s original name, “Unique Clothing Warehouse.”

4. All Uniqlo stores have a poster in the manager’s office that reads “ALWAYS FOLLOW COMPANY DIRECTION. DO NOT WORK YOUR OWN WAY.”

5. All retail associates at Uniqlo stores worldwide are trained to hand your credit card and receipt back with both hands, as it is common in Japan.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

6. There are six phrases that all store associates must memorize and recite to customers as they encounter them in the store. They are:

-“Hello, my name is [name], how are you today?”
-“Did you find everything you are looking for?”
-“Let me know if you need anything. My name is [name].”
-“Thank you for waiting.”
-“Did you find everything you are looking for?”
-“Good-bye, we hope to see you again soon.”

7. The phrase “Did you find everything you are looking for” is on the list twice because it’s supposed to be said twice to every customer.

8. Uniqlo issues a scholarship to 10 Japanese graduate students every year, which covers the full cost of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons The New School For Design, or the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

9. Uniqlo’s current sponsorship of tennis star Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon this year is part of a five-year plan to use his high profile as a launching point for their European expansion.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic greets Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

10. Founder Tadashi Yanai views Uniqlo as “a technology company…not a fashion company.”

11. Tadashi Yanai is also the richest person in Japan, with a net worth of $17.8 billion.

12. Japan has 793 Uniqlo stores, the most of any country.

13. There are 99 Uniqlo stores in Tokyo alone.

14. The country with the fewest Uniqlo stores (ignoring those that have none) is Germany. They only have one, in Berlin.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

15. Uniqlo gets its denim from the same factory in Hiroshima that produces jeans for Levi’s, Gap, Seven for all Mankind, and J. Crew.

16. It takes exactly 64 of those HeatTech threads to make the yarn from which the clothing is made.

17. HeatTech clothing made before 2012 contains yarn that is 88 threads thick, but later technology made it possible to make the weave thinner.

18. Uniqlo’s HeatTech fabric is made from threads that are one-tenth the width of a human hair.

Yuya Shino / Reuters / Reuters

19. Uniqlo started out as a unisex clothing brand.

20. In 2012, Uniqlo partnered up with Sanrio to create a Hello-Kitty-themed campaign to spread awareness of cervical cancer.

21. Uniqlo’s global staff contains a higher percentage of people with disabilities than any other large business in Japan.

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

22. In 2001, a coalition of Japanese domestic manufacturers tried to get the government to place an import ban on companies that serviced Uniqlo, claiming that if the Uniqlo grew too fast it would wipe out domestic production.

23. Uniqlo’s best sales day ever was November 11, 2001, when the opening of its Seoul location netted $1.16 million in one day.

24. The Daily Mail ranked Uniqlo’s cheap cashmere sweater as the best when compared to eight major fast-fashion retailers. Uniqlo’s cashmere was ranked highest for quality, color-fastness, washability, and resistance to pilling; it beat out other cheap cashmere options like Gap, Marks and Spencer, and Mango.

Issei Kato / Reuters

25. When Uniqlo launched in the US, they sized their clothing up for an American market, but later shipped their clothing in the slimmed-down, Japanese sizes when they realized that those clothes sold better in the urban market.

26. Before launching their flagship in Soho, Uniqlo opened three experimental stores in New Jersey, all of which flopped and closed down in two years.

27. In 2012, Uniqlo “hacked” Pinterest by creating a hundred accounts and simultaneously posting to all of them, which turned people’s dashboards into one continuous, scrolling ad for the brand.

28. Uniqlo offers free in-store tailoring for any pair of jeans that cost more than $20. If your jeans cost less, there is a $5 fee for alterations.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

29. The only UK-based Uniqlo store that is NOT in London is located in Bluewater, Kent. Sorry, rest of the UK.

30. Uniqlo uses a universal pay system for store managers and executive, which means that globally, any person who holds certain positions are paid the same wage.

31. One of Uniqlo’s offshoot brands, G2, allows people to test-drive the clothes out of their Tokyo store before coming back to buy them.

Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

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