Marks & Spencer has unveiled two fashion firsts this week, with its lowest-priced clothing line and trousers made from recycled plastic bottles.
The Outstanding Value line offers men's T-shirts for £3 in different colours, which it will trial before deciding on a womenswear roll-out.
M&S's existing T-shirts start at £5 for its fair trade version and £7 for cotton, while men's jeans in the Outstanding Value range are priced at £9.
Sourced from Sri Lanka, a spokeswoman said the new value T-shirts would not compromise on quality. "We can produce T-shirts at that price and quality because of the volumes we order," she said. "(M&S chief executive) Stuart Rose has been very vocal about increasing our focus at the value end, and where there are opportunities we will look at them."
M&S has also launched men's trousers made from recycled plastic bottles, priced at £19.50. It follows a trial of fleeces made from the same material, called Greenspun (Drapers, January 20).
The trousers are crease resistant and come in black, charcoal and navy. The yarn is manufactured in Taiwan by Greenpac.
M&S plans to launch suits made from the fabric within the next few years.
NOT JUST A DEGREE ...
M&S will host a master's degree in fashion marketing and retail at its London HQ from September. The degree, awarded by Glasgow Caledonian University and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, will cover the challenges and issues of fashion retail, featuring masterclasses from leading fashion figures. The course will offer places to 20 retailers with solid fashion retail experience, and will be taught one Saturday a month over a nine-month period. An information and selection day will take place on August 1. For more details, visit www.caledonian.ac.uk/fashion.