The Radiance Behind Zara

Surely, you have seen the trendy flare pink, orange, green, purple, and other funky jeans before. The best place to get them, as popular opinion goes, is the one and only Zara. Have you ever wondered how Zara became so popular? Well, the legend goes that Zara exploited ultra fast fashion consumerism in Gen Z starting in the 1990s. Fast fashion is the business model of producing on trend clothes quickly and cheaply. In practicing this model, Zara ditched the norm of seasonal shifts in clothing pieces and started to release brand new pieces at a whopping rate of twice a week. The continuous release of product resulted in customers constantly “#stoppingby” and purchasing clothes to avoid FOMO, or the fear of missing out on trends in this case. Fortunately, Zara is one of the only fast fashion companies that use eco-friendly processes to produce its clothing [1].
Thereupon, how does Zara continue to be so successful?
Since Zara was first introduced to the world in Spain in 1975, it became one of the fastest-growing businesses in fast fashion. It all started with Amacio Ortega and Rosalía Mera, who started this brand as a family business in Spain. Soon enough, with enough success using the strategies above, they saw nine new stores open in the biggest cities of Spain. In 1985, the holding company Inditex took control and prompted Ortega to create a new method of manufacturing that involved extremely efficient design, manufacturing and distribution techniques. He used groups of designers rather than individuals to produce and reproduce trends in the manner of “instant fashion.” Zara was presented to the global stage as it expanded to 2264 stores in 96 countries. According to Forbes Magazine, Amancio Ortega is the 6th richest man in the world.
Zara’s four core values are beauty, functionality, sustainability, and clarity. This article will now dive deeper into each of these elements.
According to Ortega himself, clothing must be “perishable.”. It is certainly not supposed to be stored in the cupboard. People should change their styles in short periods of time and replenish their closets with new trends. And just like that, Zara was built on the founding principle of restocking its shelves with the latest trends faster than all other brands, a key reason for its success. These clothing pieces are of high quality oftentimes and are very affordable. Again, the brand places emphasis on the customers and their desires by being in possession of their clothes in short lead times. People don’t have to wait an entire season to discover new styles anymore. They supply a lower number of pieces to increase the desirability of the clothes, leading to higher sales. Furthermore, rather than manufacturing a larger quantity of a certain piece, they create newer and more styles. In fact, it produces 12,000 styles every year.
The center of creation for Zara is its customers. In an incident in 2015, a study found that multiple women attempted to purchase pink scarves from Zara stores worldwide, leaving the store disappointed that Zara did not indeed have them. One week later, Zara had instantly produced 500,000 pink scarves that sold out in merely three days. Zara’s “#hushhush” secret is uses RFID or Radio Frequency Identification Technology to track the products that have the highest traction as customers pick them up at stores. With this, they cut inventory costs and gain ample knowledge of the trends in the fashion society. Also, Zara ensures that its employees pay close attention to the desires of their customers by taking keen notes about their ideas in fashion to give them the styles they want.
Zara also has an highly effective supply chain. Its vertical supply chain allows the company to manufacture its own components, reducing not just the cost of production, but opimizing the time spent creating clothes. It assembles more than 450 million pieces and yet manages to seamlessly carry out the shipping process. Lastly, sustainability is at the absolute forefront of the brand. Inditex, as mentioned before the holding company that has control over Zara ensures its commitment to its employees by integrating programs to aid them and ensures that they have rights at work. Moreover, Zara emphasizes diversity in hiring as well. In fact, Zara spends $50 million on initiatives and programs. In 2020, they introduced the “for&from” to include employees with mental and physical disabilities into their workforce. Lastly, they are incredibly committed to the environment. Zara complies with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has promised to sell only sustainable clothing by 2025 by recycling their cotton, linen and polyester. They have started a Join Life program introduced particularly to educate consumers of which pieces are eco-friendly [2].
Zara runs off the fuel of “Everything is Possible”. So, what now for the brand?
Marta Ortega, the daughter of Amancio Ortega, the founder is taking control of the company after being a sales assistant at one of its stores. She is 38 years old and is expected to be one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her father still holds a 59% stake in the company, sustaining his riches. As she owns Inditex now, she also controls other companies such as Bershka, Massiomo Dutti and more [3].
The world will just have to sit back, relax, and watch her rise to power as Zara’s reputation continues to forge trends for women of all ages. After this article, did it convince you to finally… get the flare jeans? [1] [2] [3]