Inditex – The Fashion Market’s Biggest Giant

By Sarah Harris

This Boxing Day, I decided to brave the cold and wet weather and take on Oxford Street. I usually prefer to spend the day curled up in bed and browsing through online sales but given that I was spending this holiday season with family in London, we decided to risk getting trampled on by crazy shoppers to see if we could score a few bargains. 

Now, as a student, affordable fashion has been a life saver. The likes of Primark have been a staple in many student wardrobes since as far back as I can remember. Primark was somewhat of a holy grail and had everything you could think of at an outstandingly low price. Before the likes of Pretty Little Thing and Missguided, the majority of students would be drifting through the racks, in search of the perfect ‘night-out’ outfit. 

So, a few years ago, when I asked my cousin where she bought her top from and she replied with “Stradivarius” I couldn’t help but think she was talking about a Danish pastry. It was then that I was introduced to Inditex, the now, biggest fashion group in the world. 

Inditex is home to the likes of Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, Bershka as well as slightly more upscale brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti. So how did Inditex go from being unheard of, to having a revenue of over $24 billion in 2016 and surpassing H&M as the world’s largest fashion retailer?

Inditex was founded by Amancio Ortego, the brains behind the superstore Zara. Zara once started as a small, local store in 1975, but now Ortego owns over 5000 stores worldwide. The company believes the reason behind its success is a marketing strategy that is different and clever. By completely avoiding magazine advertising and very rarely placing billboards in prime markets such as the US, they have managed to become an international phenomenon. 

Since 2001, Inditex has integrated sustainability plans into all aspects of their products, from sourcing quality raw materials to logistics and sales. Speaking to Greenbiz, Chief Sustainability Officer for the company, he said, “We have always conceived our sustainability project as a work in progress, a never-ending task. It is necessary to increase the pace of progress – without that it won’t be possible to reduce the impact of the fashion industry. We hope that our commitment and management in this field can be a force for change for the whole sector.”

Sustainable fashion is clearly becoming more and more appealing to designers as well as buyers, given the rising popularity in Inditex stores. I personally didn’t know Inditex were using sustainable sources, but it does make it more understandable as to why the clothing you will find at their stores – including the Bershka, Stradivarius and Zara Stores in Cardiff’s own City Centre – is of such great quality. This makes me more inclined towards buying items from their stores in the future. 

And not only this, but the fashion giant recently announced that they would be donating a further $9.4 million in addition the money they had donated in the past, to the Caritas charity – an organisation that supports social employability and circular economy initiatives in Spain. After the 2013 Primark factory collapse in Bangladesh, Inditex was one of only 38 companies that signed the ‘Accord on Factory and Building Safety in Bangladesh’ which called for more improved treatment of factory workers in developing countries as well as safer work environments. 

Inditex is doing everything that a successful fashion giant should be doing and adapting to an ever-changing world and I don’t just mean with their fashion trends. The fashion market is constantly changing just as the normal market is. Inditex is proving that they are in touch with the needs of not just the fashion industry but the world. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company grow even more in the near future.