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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

Britain’s December Brexit decision means the feared changes in trade rules are unlikely to happen in the forseeable futureTrade Tracker – Farewell Brexit, what's the next big thing? 13 December 2017

Last week, the UK announced that Britain would – for at least the foreseeable future – remain within the EU-dominated European Single Market and Customs Union. The move marks an end to the past year's populist trade scares, but means retailers must now focus on really understanding what’s driving their customers, according to Mike Flanagan.

CollaGin contains “age-defying botanicals” and drinkable pure collagenThe Flanarant – What CollaGin taught me about the fashion industry 6 December 2017

A recent change of direction has seen Mike Flanagan swap some of his clothing consultancy time to run a local deli. But the move has also opened his eyes to the reasons why apparel, an industry that's supposed to be all about fun and dynamism, is in a rut.

The arguments for the UK leaving the EU are a lot shakier than they were in 2016Trade Tracker – Is Brexit ever going to happen? 3 October 2017

We're now just about half way between the day in June 2016 when Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), and the day in March 2019 that the government plans to be its last as an EU member. But as Mike Flanagan explains, no-one has the foggiest idea what the basic rules for Britain's apparel trade with the rest of Europe are going to be. Or with anywhere else.

While NAFTA negotiations are due to start mid-August, it is not known how long US Congress will then take to approve what is agreedTrade Tracker – July trade talk more show than substance 1 August 2017

Despite claims of major trade changes throughout July by governments in the EU, Japan, the US and the UK, there is little that is likely to affect apparel importers or exporters for years, according to Mike Flanagan.

The Accord and the Alliance have achieved a lot in tackling factory safety in BangladeshThe Flanarant – Factory safety isn't the biggest risk to Bangladesh workers 13 July 2017

The death of 13 people following a boiler explosion earlier this month at the Multifabs factory in Bangladesh's Gazipur district makes many of us wonder why the country's garment making sector still seems so tragically unsafe, writes Mike Flanagan. While spectacular advances have been in garment factory safety over the past four years, they have not been matched by improvements in other threats to Bangladeshi workers' lives.

The UK has confirmed that after Brexit it will continue to offer duty-free access for products from LDCs – the world's 48 poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia and HaitiTrade Tracker – A month’s a long time in trade politics 4 July 2017

What a difference a month makes to trade politics. In his latest roundup, Mike Flanagan notes that events in June suggest the role of the EU now seems secure, details of the UK's exit from the EU are more confused than ever – and the approach of Trump's team on steel imports risks creating a crisis.

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.

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