Spaniard Amancio Ortega is one of the wealthiest people in the world and founder of one of the world’s largest fashion clothing retailers, Zara. Ortega started Zara in 1975 and saw it grow to 2,249 stores in 96 countries by 2020.1 Born in 1936, he started delivering shirts as a youth after dropping out of school because his family needed the money. He learned how to make dressing gowns and lingerie with his first wife, Rosalia Mera, with whom he had two children.
Amancio Ortega founded the Inditex Group in 1963, which owns Zara and other men’s and women’s retail apparel, footwear and home textiles businesses. He opened the first Zara store in A Coruña in 1975, shaking up the retail fashion industry by dramatically speeding up turnaround schedules so that clothes go from idea to the sales floor in two weeks. Thanks to his eye for investment, he is considered a pioneer in fast fashion. Zara’s fashions are based on runway attire but sold at prices the average person can afford.
Inditex Group designs, manufactures, distributes and sells its own products in more than 7,000 stores around the world. The company went public in 2001. In 2011, he stepped down as Inditex’s chairman, but he retains ownership of 59.2 % of its shares as of 2019. He also has significant real estate holdings, including the tallest building in Madrid, the Torre Picasso, and properties in high-end areas of London, New York, Los Angeles and Barcelona.
A self-made multi-billionaire with an estimated net worth of $64.3 billion as of 2020 according to Forbes, Ortega is one of the wealthiest people in the world. Despite his fortune, Ortega is known as a man of habit and modest attire and is famously private, avoiding interviews with journalists. He lives in A Coruña, the same city in Galicia, Spain, where he first opened Zara. He is considered to be the wealthiest retailer in the entire world.
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