I regard Spain to be the leader in fashion retail because it is home to Inditex, one of the largest fashion distributors in the world and the holding company for eight different chain stores, of which Zara is the biggest and best known. The others are Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Oysho, Zara Home and Kiddy’s Class. Inditex’s 3700-odd stores are represented in a whopping 68 different counties. Most of the merchandise available in these stores is made in Spain – not China.

What impresses me most about Inditex chains is the affordability of their highly creative, sophisticated and current designs. Each chain focuses on a niche market and age group, with levels of quality appropriate to the target market. But even their higher end Massimo Dutti store is more affordable than Banana Republic. I am convinced that this helps to raise the style quotient in Europe. It’s easier to look good when there are gorgeously stylish clothes and shoes at thrifty prices around every corner.

This is what I miss in America. You can absolutely get phenomenal clothes and shoes in the US at fabulous boutiques and department stores, but it is usually expensive. There is no American equivalent to Spain’s Zara, Sweden’s H&M, Britain’s French Connection, France’s Promod or Holland’s Mexx. Banana Republic probably comes closest, but its fashion has lacked flair recently and isn’t cheap unless you purchase on sale.

I hope that Spain continues to spread it’s gloriously affordable and fabulously wearable fashion all over America. Then we too can enjoy eye-catching boutique looks at inexpensive mainstream prices.

Zara in Paris

Zara in Paris.