July 27, 2021

Rosalia Mera, billionaire philanthropist

A woman of conviction and action. Rosalia Mera, co-founder of the world’s leading ready-to-wear group, Zara, has always stood up for her views. This self-made woman, who has become the richest woman in Spain, died at the age of 69 from a stroke on Thursday, August 15, in a hospital in La Coruña (Galicia).

Billionaire, with a left political sensibility, describing herself as “shifted”, Rosalia Mera has fervently supported the “indignant” movement and has always criticized corruption in politics. Recently, she fought loudly against the Spanish government’s plan to restrict the right to abortion.

She did not mince words to criticize the cuts to the health care budget. “When you are born where I was born, it cannot be otherwise”, she said to her interlocutors, a little surprised that this wealthy woman – her fortune was estimated at 4.5 billion euros according to the American magazine Forbes – has kept such a political streak.

Born in 1944 in a poor district of La Coruña, to a father employed by an electricity company and a mother who would become the manager of a butcher’s shop, Rosalia Mera left school at the age of 11 to become an apprentice in the workshops of a fashion house. She meets Amancio Ortega, an employee of a T-shirt manufacturer. They married in 1966 and have two children, Sandra and Marcos.


They first created a bathrobe company, Confecciones Goa, before founding, in 1975, the first Zara store in La Coruña. Their concept is simple: to be inspired as closely as possible by the design of luxury clothes – to copy, some would say – but to sell ten times cheaper! In Spain, success did not take long. Since 1988, Zara’s parent company, Inditex, has been expanding rapidly internationally.

Rosalia Mera and Amancio Ortega are reinventing fashion by offering new products all year round. The clothes are made in Spain and where the labor is cheap. Their recipe brings in floods of gold – Amancio Ortega has become the richest man in Europe – and will make Inditex the world number one in textiles. The group currently employs more than 120,000 people and owns 6,058 stores in 86 countries.

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