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Inside Zara HQ

Just outside the city of A Coruna on Spain's wild Galician coastline, lie the headquarters of the world's biggest fashion retailer Zara, whose parent company Inditex sits atop the 'fast fashion' industry it helped create.

This constantly expanding complex is home to an army of designers, pattern-makers, analysts and sales experts, who respond rapidly to global trends and demands by fast-tracking the creation of garments from idea to shop floor. The process, from conception to store, can take as little as three weeks.

In April 2022, company founder Armancio Ortega handed the reins of Inditex to his daughter, 38 year old Marta Ortega, who is now non-executive chairperson after 15 years working within Zara. She was recently named #33 on Fortune Magazine's 'Most Powerful Women' list.

There are clear challenges ahead for Ortega. Governments, activists and environmentalists have been pushing for change to the 'fast fashion' model which many view as being deeply damaging to the planet. The World Bank estimates that 87% of all clothes produced globally are incinerated or end up in landfilled. Can the giants of retail fashion continue to grow, while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint?
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