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One zipper gone wrong can render an entire garment unwearable. Thus consistent quality is a must for reputable fashion brands. For decades now, apparel makers who can’t afford to gamble on cut-rate fasteners have overwhelmingly turned to a single manufacturer. YKK, the Japanese zipper behemoth, makes roughly half of all the zippers on earth. More than 7 billion zippers each year. Those three capital letters are ubiquitous—no doubt you’ve seen them while zipping up your windbreaker or unzipping someone else’s jeans. How did YKK come to dominate this quirky corner of industry?
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