Spanish fashion chain Zara hates publicity. Even its executives shun it, agreeing to be interviewed by Andrew Hay for Reuters on condition they were not named. Forget the Celebufashionistas and Celebudesigners, they just care about copying catwalk styles as fast as they can.
While many women storm the stores of rival H&M or Target for clothes designed by Kylie Minogue or Stella McCartney, Zara has rejected the mania for celebrity-designed, celebrity look-alike mass fashion. "It’s all about speed," says one, looking out from a boardroom at a
distribution centre the size of an airport terminal at their
headquarters in Arteixo, northwestern Spain. "Celebrities may work for
other brands, not for us."
Additonally, Zara sees no need for high-profile advertising. Some analysts have said it was Zara’s fast-to-market model and H&M’s hip, cheap lines that obliterated the European middle-market and forced competitors to sign up celebrities to compete.
In just over a decade, Zara’s parent company Inditex has become world’s second-biggest selling fashion retailer after Gap Inc and Zara drives two-thirds of its sales.
While it can take up to a year for fashion houses to launch a catwalk collection, Zara can sell expensive-looking, affordable copies of the hottest trends within weeks of their debut. Their clothes mostly appeal to shoppers who buy luxury look-alike clothes and mix high and low fashion.
Don’t have Zara in your city yet? Good luck trying to buy online. Amancio Ortega, Inditex’s 71-year-old owner, can’t tolorate celebrity tie-ins and opposes online e-commerce sales. Some say this could be to their detriment in the long run. They will have to deal with Zara stores that are growing "a bit chaotic" and need more staff after two years of cost controls. A fear is that the label is positioning itself to only being attractive to the middle-aged rather than attracting a new generation (death).
At some point, they may have to commission stars if that is what customers want, says Salzman in New York. After all, look what Milla Jovovich has done for Barcelona fashion house Mango.