• Zara and its parent company, Inditex, have their global headquarters in Arteixo, Spain. There are over 300 designers working here.
  • These designers are at the center of Zara’s business, turning around new styles quickly and enabling the company to bring new items to its stores twice a week.
  • In a recent visit to the company’s headquarters, we chatted with a group of designers about how their process works.

Hidden away in the depths of Zara’s sprawling headquarters in northern Spain, 300 designers are hard at work trying to discover the next big fashion trend.

During our visit to the offices in August, we were introduced to a group of four designers who were huddled around an iPad and trend-forecasting books as they put together the final pieces of the end-of-year collection, which hits stores in November.

This collection had been in the works since April, they said, beginning with mood boards, sketches, and then, finally, sourcing fabrics from suppliers.

Zara’s army of designers is at the core of its business model, which is centered on newness and speed. While its slick supply chain and distribution process enable the company to turn around new items quickly and bring them to its 2,238 stores twice a week, it is the designers who are burdened with the responsibility of coming up with new styles that enable Zara to stay ahead of the pack in the global fast-fashion arms race.

Read more: We went inside one of the sprawling factories where Zara makes its clothes. Here’s how the world’s biggest fashion retailer gets it done.

Zara’s central distribution center in Arteixo, Spain. Courtesy of Inditex

The power of the Instagram influencer

Fast-fashion stores have historically been known to mimic trends from the runway, offering similar products at lower prices than high-fashion labels. Both Zara and Forever 21 have come under scrutiny for this practice in the past, being accused of selling copycat products and ripping off designs.

While the runway shows are still an important part of its design process today, Zara has remained steadfast that these…