"Unlike rivals such as Gap, H&M, and Primark, Zara has no chief designer, and there’s little discernible hierarchy. Its 350 designers are given unparalleled independence in approving products and campaigns, shipping fresh styles to stores twice a week," according to Bloomberg. In lieu of a boss, they are guided, instead, by daily data feeds showing what’s selling and what’s not. With this info in hand, they develop the garments and accessories that will ship to stores for the coming weeks.
Data is the new black for Zara - and location. With production nearby, Inditex can quickly switch gears if weather or fashion trends change, getting designs into stores in as little as two or three weeks, while rivals’ orders slowly make their way across the ocean on container ships.
Pablo Isla, Inditex’s chairman and chief executive officer, told Bloomberg, “There are no stars. We are able to react to data during the season." Just as important, according to Isla, is the way Inditex “pulls” ideas from consumers, rather than designing collections months in advance and “pushing” goods on shoppers with ads.
Yet, despite the seeming simplicity of designing around data, no company can seem to do it as well - or even remotely as well as Zara.