I Did An Experiment On My Best Friend And It Was An Epic Fail
Post written by Rosie Slaughter
There’s being a fan of shopping and then there’s giving it a red hot go at single handedly keeping the fashion industry in business. The latter is my best friend. If you climbed into her wardrobe there is every chance you might get lost in an inside-out, topsy-turvy, cotton, polyester blend. I like to call this, ‘material entrapment’.
We’ve been friends for over four years now and she has always had a penchant for an off the shoulder, floral playsuit. Within our friendship group it’s become a bit of a running joke; “Oh that’s lovely, you’ve got nothing remotely similar in your wardrobe - how unique!” Then we’d all laugh. However, it’s become apparent that this internal joke might have a bit more depth to it. I don’t think she’d mind me saying that it seems to actually be an addiction. That might seem drastic but actually I think we might be onto something….
I tried getting her to read the Barefoot Investor, which she feigned interest in for a while; we discussed how much money she could be saving and talked about houses and what her deposit could look like if she bought one less pair of shoes or overpriced swimsuit a month. I then proposed an experiment. The experiment would consist of putting my best friend on a month long shopping ban….which given the current iso situation should be easy, right…? Wrong.
Said best friend, let’s call her Amelia* for all intents and purposes, lasted a week and a half. Amazing by her standards, as this is the girl who, pre-Covid, would go to the mall during her lunch break. The thing I couldn’t get my head around was that she caved on a Wednesday. Who shops on a Wednesday?! This is where I started to realise she had a bit of an issue. The thing is, she doesn’t even treat these items like she loves them. Don’t get me wrong, she looks absolutely stunning in everything she wears, but when she is not wearing them they hang inside out in the wardrobe. No joke, it’s like she’s allergic to hanging them back the correct way. However, if you ask to borrow something, it’s a different story. It’s like you’ve kidnapped one of her children. You get strict washing instructions (like you’ve never read a label in your life), if you’re given permission to wash them at all, then regular text reminders checking in on how the pieces are doing and when she might expect to see them again.
I started on my slow fashion journey in May last year and have become a more conscious consumer in every area of my life; total fast fashion detox, supermarket shopping (people who put bananas in plastic bags really grind my gears)... There’s a thin line between being passionate about being green and crossing it to become that preachy friend that everyone thinks “here she goes again”. At this point everyone stops listening and even if they do agree with you, they won’t commit to saying it out loud because you’re irritating. People have to make decisions on their own; humans innately do not like being told what to do.
What I have discovered does work, is repetition of behaviour. If you continuously behave in a particular manner, you begin to create an impression and those around you will start to emulate. However, as we are all social distancing, we will need to be a little more patient before this can occur. I’ll give you some examples I noticed before everything changed:
Drinking coffee from my KeepCup everyday and if I forgot it but really fancied a takeaway coffee, I would only allow myself one if I took a regular mug with me - by doing this, and not worrying what people think, you start to create a norm which eventually becomes socially acceptable and is a great organic conversation starter
A past colleague of mine once ‘made a joke’ about dolphins choking on the plastic bottle he had just thrown in his desk bin; the same colleague a month later asked me which colour recycling bin was for soft plastics. I took this as a mini personal victory
My partner and I recently moved house; I took to Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to kit out the new abode and sourced 75% of our furniture and household decorative items secondhand - my best friends then caught the bug
Admittedly, some of these activities are currently on the backburner, but in the meantime why not focus on some of those home projects you started and never finished? Educate yourself on a few ways you can reduce your impact on the environment?
But to finish up the tale of my dear friend, Amelia*; I’ve been quite vocal about the fact I’m writing about her and her failed mission I set and ever since we have been more limited in our freedom, due to our Coronavirus lockdown, she has certainly been a lot more sensible. She’s appreciating what she has, she’s very grateful to have thankfully maintained her job and her bank balance is looking healthier - I’m very proud of her and time is most certainly of the essence with the lessons she is learning.