Dressed to impress: model wears blazer £18, shirt £12, skirt £10 all matalan.co.uk

The low-cost brand is prioritising lasting style over fast fashion with a new ‘statements’ collection. Rebecca Gonsalves reports

Rather than a style destination, Matalan has long been the sort of store you pop into when in need of a litany of bits and bobs – mugs, a new pair of pyjamas, perhaps some socks. But this season its affordable offerings have been taken in a new direction with an overhaul of the way shops are run, too.

First to come are the statements collections for men and women which launch today. Mitch Hughes, the buying director, says: “We were keen to develop a timeless collection which reinforces our key values of quality, value for money and style.

“We want the customer to think of us first for their on-trend wardrobe  essentials at affordable prices.” For women, the statement collection this season focuses on the sort of smart-casual clothes that are the building blocks of most people’s working wardrobes or day-to-day attire rather than attempting to ape directional catwalk looks.

“It’s about style over fast fashion,” says Hughes. “It is easy to buy, easy to style and easy to wear. We have not only developed the range to attract new customers, but also to provide our current customers with something new and exciting.”

While low prices are a key part of the brand identity, Matalan is keen to reinforce the importance of quality too: “Our customers will not find better quality clothing at a better price anywhere else,” says Liz Wilson, the head of design.

The brand is also keen to update its image as a retailer abolishing the mandatory membership-card scheme in favour of an optional reward card and make the most of its presence online in order to reach a new customer base. Don’t worry though – it’ll still be stocking socks.