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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 FlanarantThe 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

While Trump's rhetoric is still inconsistent, his trade team has been making sensible, practical announcementsTrade Tracker – Pragmatism breaks out all round...sort of 31 May 2017

Despite earlier threats of chaos, something resembling sanity seems to have hit most of the world's major trading nations during May.

Official data shows recent growth in some textile production in the UKThe Flanarant – What's behind Britain’s apparent apparel export boom? 22 May 2017

When it comes to apparel-making in Britain, there's one thing we all think we know: there isn't very much of it. But Britain's official trade statistics seem to tell a very different story, writes Mike Flanagan.

Amazon's patent for making on-demand clothingThe Flanarant – An assembly-worker free apparel industry? 10 May 2017

For the past 20 years, Western buyers have been getting lower prices by switching production to countries with exceptionally low wages. But do recent announcements from Amazon and Adidas mean automated manufacturing is going to grow? asks Mike Flanagan.

Donald Trump's team during April began announcing practical programmes for dealing with the trade issues they'd previously been merely vocal aboutTrade Tracker: Trump and Brexit get a dose of common sense 21 April 2017

After months of loud – and often unrealistic – sloganeering, both the Trump Revolution and Britain’s Brexit plans got a transforming injection of hard-nosed practicality in the first few weeks of April.

From 2019 there could be a tenfold increase in the number of Customs inspectionsThe Flanarant – Post-Brexit customs chaos could choke apparel trade 31 March 2017

As the two-year process for Britain leaving the European Union (EU) officially got underway this week, a critical but little-discussed problem for apparel importers – especially in fast fashion – is not just the prospect of tariffs in a new customs regime, but disruption to the free flow of goods. This is the one Brexit problem the apparel industry must focus on, stresses Mike Flanagan.

In 2016, around 45% of all import duties collected by the US government came from apparel and footwearTrade Tracker – Trump and Brexit generate more heat than light 13 March 2017

Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" – while the British government’s attempts to clarify the specifics of "Brexit means Brexit" left no-one better informed. Mike Flanagan takes a closer look.

The UK's Business Ministry has The Flanarant - Wage abuses can’t be eliminated by software and flash PR 27 February 2017

It is not just alleged Asian sweatshops where there are widespread wage abuses, Mike Flanagan reminds us. But is the British government concentrating too much on headline-grabbing mistakes at high street retailers in its "name and shame" campaign against abuse at home?

The British government intends to re-establish Customs control for all goods entering the UKTrade Tracker – Trump’s first three weeks and Brexit timelines 16 February 2017

New twists and turns are taking place on the trade front almost daily, largely driven by the UK’s Brexit vote to leave the EU and the Trump administration’s new policies. In this new monthly column Mike Flanagan unravels the latest developments and their likely impact on the global apparel supply chain – along with advice on how buyers and suppliers should respond.

Sourcing businesses are facing more and more issues they can neither influence nor predictThe Flanarant – New political plans add long-term buying uncertainty 2 February 2017

Seemingly endless trade-related government announcements in the US and UK throughout January were full of ideas for greater national control. But none offered a single detail that sourcing firms could use – making business planning a nightmare for buyers and potentially disrupting supply chains, says Mike Flanagan.

China's aggressive stance over WTO rights may inflame its relationship with the EU and USThe Flanarant – Is China about to burst its apparel trade bubble? 10 January 2017

For the past six years China's clothing producers have retained their dominance of world apparel manufacturing despite widespread forecasts of imminent collapse. At its peak share in 2009, China accounted for 42.3% of America's apparel imports; in the first nine months of 2016 this was almost unchanged at 41.2%. However, Mike Flanagan believes China's apparel exports now face a serious threat – from the Chinese government.

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