just-style authors and correspondents
Mike Flanagan is CEO of Clothesource Limited, which provides apparel buyers and sellers throughout the world with the hard data they need to understand their competitiveness. Clothesource, with the world's largest collection of intelligence on clothing price comparisons, supplier capabilities and national resources, provides both buyers and sellers with advice and training on improving sourcing and selling skills.
Mike began his career in the advertising industry in the UK and Italy, before moving into retailing. Before setting up Clothesource, he held a number of senior international buying, marketing and operations posts in the retail divisions of groups such as Associated British Foods, British Petroleum and US Shoe.
Columns by Mike Flanagan
A forthright take on the follies the world’s apparel buying community has to deal with, from Mike Flanagan, CEO of Clothesource – and his suggestions for putting them right.
Articles by Mike Flanagan
Can mass-market clothing be made legally - or ethically - in the UK or the US if it’s competing with low-wage production? Not according to Mike Flanagan, who calls Western labour practices "onshoring’s dirty secret."
While global trade programmes have stalled this month, the German-led Partnership for Sustainable Textiles has been making quiet headway on its promise to bring about “social, ecological and economic improvements all along the textile supply chain.” Indeed, it has turned into a supersized version of the Accord, suggests Mike Flanagan.
Re-energising US apparel imports from Africa has been among the recent concerns of US brands and retailers. But Mike Flanagan wonders if they’re missing the real problem: finding alternative apparel sources – in Africa or anywhere else – is a lot tougher than it looks.
There’s a huge gap in Bangladesh between two business philosophies: those with realistic profit expectations, and those who are obsessed with controlling costs. And recent events have highlighted just how wide this gulf is, according to Mike Flanagan.
A bipartisan package of bills introduced last week could pave the way for “fast track” negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But there are still a lot of barriers before a TPP agreement emerges, believes Mike Flanagan – and it more than likely won’t be the deal US apparel importers have pushed for.
A week-long strike at a Taiwanese-owned footwear factory in Vietnam has exposed a looming pension crisis and worker shortage in a country that many see as a key sourcing alternative to China.
Last May, India overwhelmingly elected Narenrda Modi as Prime Minster. While apparel factory owners thought he was “business friendly,” few showed much public support for his annual budget on 28 February. Buried in the fine detail, there’s a reason both they and their workers might also be annoyed.
There is growing pressure from activists and governments to make Western laws apply to alleged non-compliance in developing country garment factories. But be careful what you wish for, advises Mike Flanagan, who points out that the most likely outcome is that countries will be blacklisted with no effort to improve standards.
Despite the hype, it's amazing how insignificant the internet is on the garment trade, writes Mike Flanagan. While every clothing brand and retailer uses the web for moving, receiving and monitoring information, relatively few clothes are sold this way.
Low-income workers are likely to dominate the global garment-making workforce for a long time yet, Mike Flanagan believes, despite recent forecasts that the number of low-cost countries is dwindling.
- M&S to launch supply chain human rights policy
- Nike reaffirms US production commitment
- VF pushes ahead on chemicals management
- M&S project benefits garment worker health
- Can the Gap brand reclaim its iconic status?
- Myanmar minimum wage set at US$3.2 per day
- China cotton stockpile auction may shake up market
- Far Eastern to invest $323m in Vietnam textile hub
- C&A to add "accurate fit" label to garments
- US retail landscape "mediocre" over next 5 years