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Mike Flanagan

Mike FlanaganBiography

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

The Flanarant

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

The TPP has required each country to make concessionsThe Flanarant: TPP – now the real fight starts 6 October 2015

On 5 October, the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced that their trade ministers had agreed a deal. But Mike Flanagan still doubts it will come into action this decade.

China is likely to continue to boost domestic factory investment, but perhaps not those overseasComment: Where will China’s credit axe fall? 25 September 2015

Security bills that expand the role of Japan's military overseas could result in China ramping up investments to protect its supply routes and domestic growth. But Mike Flanagan suggests this is also likely to have ramifications for the funding of garment projects overseas.

By abandoning EU trade talks, India is the only South Asian country subject to European import dutyTHE FLANARANT: Chaos in the world’s trade agreements 2 September 2015

The world garment trade was transformed in August, writes Mike Flanagan, with the biggest casualty likely to be India’s plans to increase textile and clothing exports by 20% a year and create an extra 35m jobs by 2024.

Compared with other currencies, the yuan-dollar relationship has been stable for 20 yearsChina devaluation: what’s the big deal? 24 August 2015

Why the fuss about China’s yuan devaluation earlier this month? While pretty trivial by the standards of the past 50 years, it has managed to raise all sorts of hackles, writes Mike Flanagan.

Most initiatives by responsible buyers are in response to public pressureTHE FLANARANT: What will Britain’s Modern Slavery Act achieve? 10 August 2015

Britain’s Modern Slavery Act (MSA), which began coming into force on 31 July, sets new disclosure standards on an extraordinary number of garment businesses. But its legal niceties won’t really determine the law’s impact, believes Mike Flanagan, noting that public opinion matters more.

Amazon’s sales are thought to have grown by around 25% a yearWill Amazon take over the US apparel market? 23 July 2015

A prediction this week that internet giant Amazon could take the top spot for US apparel retailing by 2017 is a gross exaggeration, according to Mike Flanagan. But it does raise intriguing questions about Amazon’s possible impact on the clothing market.

A general unease about Bangladeshi production standards remains following the collapse of the Rana Plaza buildingTHE FLANARANT: When will Bangladesh take compliance seriously? 17 July 2015

Are Bangladesh’s garment factory owners about to destroy their extraordinary apparel success story? On the face of it, the question sounds absurd, writes Mike Flanagan. But neither the BGMEA nor the Bangladesh government have shown any real interest in developing a compliant garment industry.

"For onshore to have a future, it has to be profitable to retailers and manufacturers with properly paid workers"THE FLANARANT: Onshoring has labour compliance challenges too 23 June 2015

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."

The GPST has drawn up standards for the whole raw material and textile/clothing production chainCOMMENT: German sustainability scheme a "supersized" Accord 17 June 2015

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.

In 2014, AGOA countries accounted for just 1% of US garment importsCOMMENT: Will a stable AGOA help Africa's apparel industry? 9 June 2015

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.

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