zara logo


Zara store

Brand development and international expansion

Zara is a Spanish fast fashion retailer founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera. Ortega initially named the store Zorba after the classic film Zorba the Greek, but after learning there was a bar with the same name two blocks away, they rearranged the letters molded for the sign to “Zara”. It is believed the extra “a” came from an additional set of letters that had been made for the company.

Additionally, Zara is the main brand of the Inditex group, the world’s largest apparel retailer. The fashion group owns brands such as Zara Home, Uterqüe, Massimo Dutti, Pull&BearBershka, Stradivarius and Oysho.

At first, Zara expanded across Spain in 1983. Ten years later, the company started its international expansion through Porto, Portugal. Then, in 1989, it entered the United States and then France in 1990. During the 1990s, Zara expanded to Mexico (1992), Greece, Belgium and Sweden (1993). Moreover, in the early 2000s, Zara opened its first stores in Japan and Singapore (2002), Russia and Malaysia (2003), China, Morocco, Estonia, Hungary and Romania (2004), the Philippines, Costa Rica and Indonesia (2005), South Korea (2008), India (2010), and South Africa and Australia (2011). On September 2010, Zara launched its online boutique.

Zara’s products are supplied according to consumer trends and are divided into men’s, women’s and children’s clothing (Zara Kids). Its highly responsive supply chain ships new products to stores twice a week. After products are designed, they take ten to fifteen days to reach the stores. All of the clothing is processed through the distribution centre in Spain. New items are inspected, sorted, tagged, and loaded into trucks. In most cases, the clothing is delivered within 48 hours. In conclusion, Zara produces over 450 million items per year.

Zara Home & Eco-store

Zara Home was created in 2003. Since its launch, the brand has enjoyed huge success, opening its 500th store in 2015. When Zara Home went online in 2007, it became Inditex’s first brand to have an e-commerce platform. It was also Inditex’s first format to sell online in the southern hemisphere, beginning in Australia in 2015.

The parent company Inditex, develops environmentally strategic plan for its brands. Zara’s first highly eco-efficient store is opened in a landmark building in the commercial heart of Athens in 2008.

Cover of a Zara Home catalogue

From 2016 till 2020

In September 2016, Zara developed a new sustainable collection, Join Life, as part of the parent company, Inditex commitment to strengthen its sustainability commitments. Therefore, the new contemporary clothing line is made with forest-friendly and animal-friendly materials, such as organic cotton, recycled wool, and Tencel. “Our goal is for our products to become increasingly more sustainable”, ZARA says. Besides, shoppers were encouraged to return old clothes to its stores for recycling as part of the brand’s Join Life movement.

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Zara’s Join Life Sustainable Collection (2016)

In 2019, Zara’s famous polka dot dress all over the country was the one to wear. In fact, It was widely so bought that its popularity was reportedly one of the factors in a 5 percent sales increase for Zara’s parent company, Inditex. As a consequence of its notoriety, it has been worn by the likes of Instagram mega-stars Zoe Sugg and Lily Pebbles, and almost everybody else on social media.

Zara’s famous polka dot dress

The focus on sustainability 

Later that year, Zara announced a new eco edit, which aims to source and creates more sustainable items. Moreover, under the same name tag, the ‘join life‘ tag means the piece is part of “a selection made from more sustainable raw materials using processes that help take care of the environment.”

This includes knitwear made from 100 percent recycled cashmere and puffer coats that use stuffing from recovered textile products. The collection, which was available to shop right after the launch, comes in a range of neutral colors, making it easy to wear with the rest of your wardrobe this winter.

Zara says 90 percent of its stores are eco-friendly, but the brand isn’t the only fast-fashion brand that seems to be making an effort to becoming greener.

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Care for water campaign in collaboration with

Launch of Zara’s first lingerie collection 

Finally, in October 2020, Zara has branched into the last clothing category it had never touched, with the launch of its first-ever lingerie collection.

The Female Gaze, a 91-piece collection, features bras, silk nightwear’s, bodies, robes, scarves, and eye masks in night-time blacks and dark chocolate browns, plus more ‘daywear’ pieces like t-shirts, shirts, knits, and cashmere socks in neutral tones of nude, silver, grey, soft brown and blush pink. In addition, the entire collection was captured in a series of black and white portraits by photographer Annemarieke Van Drimmelen. The overall concept was “for a fluid, ethereal and natural sensuality”, said the brand in a statement.

Zara’s first lingerie collection photographed by Annemarieke Van Drimmelen

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