Why Almost All of Our Zippers Have The Letters YKK On Them

Take a moment to take your eyes off the screen and look down at your outfit. Chances are, you’re wearing at least one zipper at this very moment, right? We, for one, are wearing a whopping THREE of them! Guess we should be giving more love to fashion choices that feature buttons! But, we digress…

Now that you’ve noted the number of zippers that are currently on you, put on those reading glasses of yours and take a closer look at the metal devices. Do you see a series of letters that spell out “YKK?” If so, what you’re wearing is not unique—an estimated half of the zippers in the world are adorned with the same symbol!

So, what does “YKK” stand for anyway?  YKK is the Japanese manufacturer who makes the handy zipper. It’s an acronym for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha that translates to “Yoshida Company Limited.”

Though YKK certainly has secured an incredible amount of business over the years, the company wasn’t the original inventor of the zipper—that title goes to an American, Whitcomb L. Judson. That being said, the manufacturer has clearly found a way to make zippers better than anyone else.

Back in January of 1934, Tadao Yoshida founded San-S Shokai in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Since then, the company has endured decades of challenges, including the complete destruction of its plant during the Great Tokyo Air Raids in 1945. But nowadays, YKK reigns supreme.

In a post published by Slate, writer Seth Stevenson delved deep into the history of YKK’s incredible success. Through his research, he discovered that YKK is used more often than any other zipper because of one very important truth—the quality is the best!

These days, there are hundreds of Chinese manufacturers that are vying for business from the fashion industry — and, in many cases, they can produce similar zippers at a cheaper cost — but the quality is nowhere near those made by YKK.

Zipper care tips from the zipper experts at YKK

We spent some time perusing the zipper manufacturer’s website—it may sound boring, but we found the experience to be quite enlightening! You see, YKK has a ton of tips and tricks for how to best care for your garments that feature its zippers.

For instance, did you know that you should ALWAYS fasten each and every one of your zippers before throwing them in the washing machine? YKK says that if you don’t, you could end up damaging your other clothing.

Also, it’s important that you never attempt to zip up a zipper if it’s either below or above room temperature, as it could get stuck. Now, if this happens to you, be sure to rub a bit of wax on the metal to loosen it up. We’ve tried that method ourselves, and it works like a charm!

Who knew that most of the zippers in your closet were made by the same company? To see plenty of these YKK zippers in action, be sure to watch the video below!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things zippers. How many garments with YKK zippers do you own? Do you know of any better zipper companies? Do you have a special technique for unzipping stuck zippers?