Where the runway meets the street

Many are familiar with the letters “YKK” that grace the majority of your clothing’s zipper pulls. But what you probably are unaware of is the nearly $14 billion USD zipper war over who will continue to fasten your clothes.

While Tadao Yoshida-founded Japanese label YKK has all but crushed the competition for decades, they do, however, now have an arch nemesis: China’s SBS Zippers. In their own right, though, SBS has also been a power internationally for years and has been bridging the gap between themselves and YKK.

According to Business of Fashion, the international market for zippers will reach $13.7 billion USD by 2020. Now the question remains, who will come out on top: YKK or SBS?

While China now accounts for the world’s largest zipper producer, YKK has recently shifted their focus to design and innovation in means of supplying zippers to the high-end luxury market, formerly controlled by European outfits such as Lampo and Riri. In contrast to SBS, YKK not only makes zippers; they also produce “the equipment that allows them to do so.”

So with YKK and SBS cornering the market, will that leave room for European competition, especially considering YKK now has an eye on high fashion?

This all may seem mundane, but again, we’re talking about a $13.7 billion USD war.

Not NYC, not LA.

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