This week marked a very brief period in which Amancio Ortega overtook Bill Gates as the World’s Richest Man.
We’ve all seen Zara’s business model transform the world of fashion for better – given the customer better access to fashion – and worse – creating an unsustainable fashion cycle and create a behaviour of ‘wear it once’ – ultimately contributing to a larger sustainability problem in the fashion industry.
Ortega owns a majority shareholding in Inditex (59.3%) which is currently the world’s biggest fashion retailer – a head of it’s close rival H&M. Inditex owns – Zara, Massimo Dutti and Zara Home (due to open next to H&M on Sydney’s Pitt St mall – a very strategic decision – flanking the brand on both sides).
Ortega is a truly remarkable individual – he’s gone from being a delivery boy for a shirt maker to setting up a workshop which made sighing gowns and eventually opening ‘Zara’ in 1975 in Spain. Index has a market cap of $104 Billion Euros making it only the 3rd Spanish company to be valued over the big $100B.
On Friday last week Ortega’s fortune reached $79.9B, just in front of Gates. However a surge in Microsoft shares and fluctuations in the euro later that dat but Gates back on top at $79.3B with Ortega closing at $78.5B.
This movement really shows the might of Inditex in the world of retail and business. In it’s 40 years of operating it has changed the face of retail…we’re waiting to see how it will adapt to the next 40 as we expect the fashion cycle to slow – driven by luxury brands and their fed up creative directors and the customers drive towards more trans-seasonal fashion that’s more ’sustainable’.