Recognizing quality... zippers

Yesterday I read an interesting story about zippers. Yes, zippers. Here's the full article in Slate.  It explains the meaning of the "YKK" imprinted on the zipper pulls you see on many pairs of jeans and other clothes. Slate calls these the "world's best zippers" and describes why in the article. BTW, "YKK" stands for "Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha."

Lately, I've taken to removing the zippers from all the jeans I use in my upcycled bags. (I try to use every part of the animal -- oops, I mean pants.) Even though they're not very long, they usually seem to be nicer than the new zippers I can find at the local fabric store. The teeth are tougher and tend not to jam. Now I know to look for the "YKK" as a clue to quality.

I wish all pre-made clothes had such clues. When I choose something to repurpose, I let my fingers tell me whether the fabric feels soft and rich. I look for patterns to match at seams (soon to be ripped apart), finished edges, unique pockets and, of course, designer labels. I wonder if this really counts as upcycling, when I start with such quality materials. I suppose it does, if the jeans or shirt is headed for the landfill. 

I like the management principle espoused by the man behind the YKK zipper, called “The Cycle of Goodness,” which holds that “no one prospers unless he renders benefit to others.” I like that!