Marta Ortega, the pregnant woman who challenges CEOs of the textile empires

There was paternalism and doubt when her promotion to the presidency of Inditex was announced. A year and a half later, Marta Ortega’s success is undeniable and her formula revolutionizes the textile empires.

Those who feared that the earth would shake with the succession of Marta Ortega as head of Inditex today breathe easy. Zara’s parent company has earned 2,513 million euros, 40.1% more than in the same period of 2022. The result is, without a doubt, merit of the structure that Amancio Ortega thought up so that his favorite daughter could shine. The non-executive president could not miss that opportunity. And she hasn’t.

Right now, the image of Marta Ortega pregnant for the third time and, at the same time, determined to change the way of being in Zara’s world, is revolutionary. We visualize a woman at her creative peak, both biological and intellectual. Her success alone is the demonstration of how structures must align so that feminine visions can materialize and change the world.

Marta Ortega recognizes that her management surpasses her
“I don’t really enjoy numbers in general,” Marta Ortega confessed in an interview in ‘Financial Times’. “Obviously, you learn a lot over the years.” This admission, we now see, must in no way be culpable. The scarcity is not as compelling in executive talent as it is in creative talent. Furthermore: does anyone ask Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, for his opinion on trends?

One thing is the financial, logistical, and production muscle and another is everything that circulates there: design, purpose, values, mission. Marta Ortega’s silent revolution puts the old leaders of the textile empires in a difficult situation, gentlemen with ties attentive more to the balance of results than to ideas. The president of Inditex defends, already successfully, another model. One that has more to do with Prada than LVMH.

Miuccia Prada has always defended that the creative destinies of the company that is now leading her succession were in her hands as much as in those of Patricio Bertellli, her husband, and her co-CEO of Prada until this year. Her formula, to place the creative at the top of the organization chart, has worked like clockwork to date. And, perhaps, it served as inspiration for the incubation of a new era at Zara.

In less than two years at the head of Inditex, Marta Ortega has already considerably turned the helm of Zara, the company’s flagship. Everyone was counting on the inevitable, almost mandatory, shift towards sustainability. However, her feat has gone further. To talk about the obvious: the new beauty and lingerie lines, the experiment with plus-size jeans, an obvious boost in design quality.

Marta Ortega has taken Zara out of fast fashion
Marta Ortega’s influence has been felt considerably in these 16 months. «My energy is in the product and how it is presented. “That is the soul of our company and where I can offer the most value,” she explained to the Financial Times. Not only is it ‘her touch’, but we are also facing the decisive outline of a new direction that relies on the most difficult thing: intuition.

“I am guided by sensations and try to judge things more intuitively,” confessed Marta Ortega. However, it has not only been intuition and good taste that have taken Inditex out of the territory of fast fashion to establish it in a new territory that it has conquered, for now, exclusively. Could anyone argue today that Zara has anything to do with Shein or even H&M?

In less than two years, Marta Ortega has repositioned Zara as the only global textile empire that produces ambitious designs at an affordable price. Her strategy, author collections (Kassl Editions, Narciso Rodríguez, Studio Nicholson), and her tributes to the greatest of photography (Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, and Helmut Newton) through MOP, have worked. Zara is not just consumption: it is already fashion.

Obviously, such an important and rapid turnaround of your reputation does not occur only from the brand strategy. Marta Ortega has put her body into her mission and has become the perfect embodiment of Zara’s new aesthetic values, as an influencer of silent luxury within the reach of all budgets. Who wouldn’t want to dress like the heiress of an empire?

Marta Ortega’s very broad smile in New York and London, where she launched her latest author collection and posed with Linda Evangelista, Edward Enninful, or Cindy Crawford, could not be more revealing. It was a new confirmation of Zara’s destiny as a premium brand, a leap in quality in all areas that does not represent a foundation, but almost. The change of direction is accompanied by an extraordinary increase in sales.