Amancio Ortega can do fashion faster than his competitors, and it’s made him the second richest man in the world. Sure Warren Buffett, long #2 after Bill Gates, named his company Berkshire Hathaway after a shirtmaker he bought a long time ago, but actual shirtmaking is Ortega’s road to riches. And he travels it at blazing speed.
Ortega runs Inditex SA, the Spanish clothing company whose brands include labels like Zara and Pull&Bear. Ortega makes fast fashion, responding in Twitter time to trends in fashion –and servicing proven desires in the marketplace instead of trying to predict them. For instance, while Buzzfeed is busy making a dress of indistinct color go wildly viral on the Internet, Ortega’s company can be swiftly making versions of that dress the next day — while other clothing retailers are designing for next season’s collection. Ortega and Inditex are basically working fashion like it’s Snapchat. Fashion is, after all, essentially a message that disappears as quickly as it arrives. While other designers are writing the equivalent of handwritten letters, Inditex dashes off wearable images to a customer/audience it knows is there, with the knowledge tastes will swiftly change.