ONE might be forgiven for thinking the Spanish clothing industry is recession-proof.
With a net worth of 31 billion USD (€22.4bn), Zara founder Amancio Ortega is the richest Spaniard in the world.
Ortega, 74, is listed as the seventh richest man in the planet by Forbes’ World’s Billionaires report.
The news arrives a month after the self-made billionaire announced he will be stepping down as chairman of Inditex, the company behind Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, among others.
Inditex currently has 5,000 stores in 77 countries.
Since the recession started in 2008, Ortega’s net worth has increased by more than 10 billion USD (€7.2bn).
By comparison, the Spaniard is almost eight times richer than the UK’s Virgin boss, Richard Branson.
The second and third richest Spaniards on the Forbes list are also in the clothing industry.
In second place, and 159th place globally, is Isak Andic and family, the media-shy mogul behind Mango. Andic, aged 56, is worth 6.1 billion USD (€4.4bn). Mango has grown since father-of-three Andic opened his first store in Barcelona back in 1984 to its current 1,200 stores in 92 countries.
Since 2008, his net worth has more than doubled.
Zara founder’s ex wife Rosalia Mera is worth 4.2 billion USD (€3.0bn) and is currently the third richest woman in Spain, and 254 in the world.
Mera, aged 67, still holds 7 per cent in Inditex, which she helped husband Amancio Ortega create making dressing gowns and lingerie from her home.
The mother-of-two has investments in film production, marine biology cancer research company, a hotel chain and a fingerprinting identification system for newborns.
The president of Spain’s third largest supermarket chain, Mercadona, Juan Roig, also appears on the list (5th Spain, 393 in world) with a net worth of 2.9bn USD (€2.1bn).
Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helo, worth 74bn USD (€53.5bn), is the richest man in the planet.