In retail and design, the un also rises.
Exhibit A: Unemployee.
“Eno, 28, non-actor from the U.S.”
“Unemployee of the Year” is a worldwide contest open to unemployed people age 18 to 30. The contest is part of Benetton’s #UNHATE campaign, which began last year with photos of world leaders kissing. Read more at AdFreak.
Exhibit B: Uncrate.
Uncrate calls itself “the leading buyer’s guide for men.”
Exhibit C: Unbeige.
Unbeige is a MediaBistro blog “where designers read about design.”
Exhibit D: Uniqlo.
I’m being mischievous with this one — Uniqlo isn’t really an “un.” The low-price, high-quality Japanese retail chain’s name comes from “unique clothing warehouse” and is pronounced “you-nee-klo” in English and “you-nee-koo-ro” in Japanese.
The company is Japan’s leading retailer in terms of sales and profits. The first Uniqlo store opened in Hiroshima in 1985; the first U.S. stores opened in 2005 in New Jersey, but they performed poorly and were shut down. A year later, Uniqlo came back with a 36,000-square-foot store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, and the company has grown its U.S. presence steadily ever since. The three-story, 29,000-square-foot San Francisco store, opening October 5, will be the chain’s first West Coast location.
According to a recent company profile in the Wall Street Journal, Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai is decidedly un-Japanese in his outspoken emphasis on entrepreneurialism. He has even declared English to be Uniqlo’s official corporate language.
Read my June 2012 post about the “un” ad campaign for the Smart “un-car.” Also see Ben Zimmer’s 2009 New York Times column about “unfollow,” “unfriend,” “unconference,” and other 21st-century un-isms.