Amancio Ortega opened the first Zara store in 1975 in central A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. Ortega initially named the store Zorba after the classic film Zorba the Greek, but after learning there was a bar with the same name two blocks away, they rearranged the letters molded for the sign to "Zara". It is believed extra "a" came from an additional set of letters that had been made for the company.
The first store featured low-priced lookalike products of popular, higher-end clothing fashions. Ortega opened additional stores throughout Spain. During the 1980s, Ortega changed the design, manufacturing, and distribution process to reduce lead times and react to new trends in a quicker way, which he called "instant fashions". The improvements included the use of information technologies and using groups of designers instead of individuals.