79 results in the archive - showing page 1 of 3

The Flanarant – Factory safety isn't the biggest risk to Bangladesh workers 13 Jul 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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 Flanarant – What's behind Britain’s apparent apparel export boom? 22 May 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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.


The Flanarant – An assembly-worker free apparel industry? 10 May 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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.


The Flanarant – Post-Brexit customs chaos could choke apparel trade 31 Mar 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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.


The Flanarant – New political plans add long-term buying uncertainty 2 Feb 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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.


The Flanarant – Is China about to burst its apparel trade bubble? 10 Jan 2017

Column: The Flanarant

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.


The Flanarant – Why Trump has blown the case for Brexit out of the water 8 Dec 2016

Column: The Flanarant

US president-elect Trump's stated policies on international trade worry a lot of people. But the explanations given by his new business-friendly team worry Mike Flanagan a lot more. Here he explains why Trumponomics is not only bad for US apparel – but a blow for Brexiteers too.


The Flanarant – Why Trump will be true to his trade threats 9 Nov 2016

Column: The Flanarant

US president-elect Donald Trump used the campaign train to set out his stance on trade issues. Instead of dismissing this as bluff and bluster, Mike Flanagan believes he will stay true to his word to impose restrictions or higher tariffs on imports – leading to massive long-term uncertainty.


The Flanarant – Ethiopia violence undermines 'visionary' sourcing strategies 12 Oct 2016

Column: The Flanarant

The apparent benefits of Ethiopia make the country a serious risk – both politically and commercially – for apparel and textile investors, Mike Flanagan believes. And the partial destruction by rioters of the Saygin Dima mill illustrates all too well the short-term superficiality of too many 'visionary' sourcing strategies.


The Flanarant – Why voters don’t want more global supply chains 19 Aug 2016

Column: The Flanarant

Mike Flanagan spent the first six months of 2016 campaigning to stay in the EU. Not once, he writes, did I hear my opponents – or anyone in Britain's new, Brexit-friendly government – say they wanted to reject global integration or repudiate over 30 years of globalisation.


The Flanarant – Bangladesh must face up to new industry threats 8 Aug 2016

Column: The Flanarant

In late June and early July, Bangladesh's garment industry was hit by a number of new long-term threats. But the industry's leaders appear unaware of the real severity these threats posed to their viability, writes Mike Flanagan.


The Flanarant – Why no other countries will step into China’s shoes 7 Jun 2016

Column: The Flanarant

There's no doubt China faces a number of challenges, ranging from slowing economic growth to growing retail competition and – in March at least – a massive drop in year-on-year exports to the US. Continuing to expect the Chinese to rise to the challenge, Mike Flanagan takes a closer look at why nowhere else is ready to exploit the opportunities.


The Flanarant – Is China really going through a slump? 19 May 2016

Column: The Flanarant

Slowing economic growth and growing competition are hitting the profits of Chinese retailers, while the country's clothing exports to the US dropped 39% year-on-year in March. Mike Flanagan takes a closer look at what this might mean for the apparel industry.


The Flanarant – Are apparel prices really rising? 12 Feb 2016

Column: The Flanarant

There's hardly an apparel industry commentator on the planet who's not forever going on about rising cost prices, writes Mike Flanagan. But he also wonders how often any of them look at what buyers are paying.


The Flanarant – New Year forecasts begin with excess expectations 19 Jan 2016

Column: The Flanarant

Don't believe those New Year forecasts, warns Mike Flanagan, as he debunks a few stories about four issues that are likely to be important in garment sourcing for some time.


The Flanarant - Apparel sourcing strategies continue to diverge 18 Dec 2015

Column: The Flanarant

Last week's announcement by Adidas that it expects its costs to rise sharply over the next five years underlines some crucial changes buyers in different countries have seen in their sourcing operations since the beginning of this century, explains Mike Flanagan.


The Flanarant: TPP – now the real fight starts 6 Oct 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: What will Britain’s Modern Slavery Act achieve? 10 Aug 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: When will Bangladesh take compliance seriously? 17 Jul 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Onshoring has labour compliance challenges too 23 Jun 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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 FLANARANT: What’s really changed in Bangladesh? 7 May 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Budget detail disappoints India garment makers 6 Mar 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Is legal action the key to compliance? 10 Feb 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Online apparel retailing: Amazon-ly unviable? 12 Jan 2015

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Has low-cost labour really reached a tipping point? 4 Dec 2014

Column: The Flanarant

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.


THE FLANARANT: Toxic discharge issue hits a tipping point 11 Nov 2014

Column: The Flanarant

In the past six years apparel buyers have moved from avoiding commitment on toxic discharge to likely toxic-free production by the end of the decade. And China has moved from opposing legislation on hazardous chemicals to introducing a legally-enforced programme for eliminating them. Has the industry finally hit a tipping point? asks Mike Flanagan.


THE FLANARANT: Apparel lobbyists add to trade barriers 9 Oct 2014

Column: The Flanarant

A decade-long enthusiasm for cutting trade barriers has come to an end, with sceptical electorates now seeing more downsides than upsides. But trade lobbyists continue to chase new barrier cuts, or defend concessions that have already reached the end of the road.


THE FLANARANT: Garment growth unlikely under India's Modi 9 Jun 2014

Column: The Flanarant

Will "strong man" politicians kick-start the sluggish garment industries in India and Pakistan? asks Mike Flanagan. Evidence so far, he suggests, shows progress ranges from positive to unconvincing.


THE FLANARANT: Yue Yuen strike reflects Chinese worker concerns 9 May 2014

Column: The Flanarant

The recent strike by workers at a Chinese plant operated by Taiwanese footwear manufacturer Yue Yuen was as much to do with the status of migrant workers as the firm's sharp practice, believes Mike Flanagan. And it certainly doesn't mark the start of a Guangdong Spring uprising.


THE FLANARANT: Following fashion isn't the best sourcing strategy 30 Apr 2014

Column: The Flanarant

Retailers and brands are increasingly engineering their operations to make the most of changing trends affecting everything from sourcing to sales. But as Mike Flanagan points out, the model that works for one company is unlikely to work for another. Here he gives some examples.

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