By Kerry Capell
Spanish retailer Inditex, owner of cheap-chic clothing chain Zara, pioneered the concept of fast fashion. While most of the retail industry takes months to bring new merchandise to market, Zara is able to move from designer?s drawing board to shop floor in as little as two weeks thanks to its tight control over every step of the process. Instead of setting the trends, Zara follows them. It relies on a combination of fashion reconnaissance — spotting trends everywhere from the street to movies to couture fashion shows — and information from its customers to keep its merchandise fresh.