Monday, 19 September 2011

Once upon a time in Gap Kids

At the weekend I went to Sweden. Why? Two main reasons:
1)      Sarah Scott is residing there
2)      Excellent animal-oriented retail activities (they are also residing there)

So let me start with the first one. Sarah is one of my best people. Because I can say, “Did you see the blouse in H and M?” and she instantly knows I mean the horse print, which comes in navy and rust, with the matching dress and skirt (it’s in-store now, people). After a brief flurry of Facebook action, we’ve made decisions and Sarah buys the dress in rust while I go for the blouse in navy. Then we discuss which shoes we like to wear with them. Of course, this kind of mutual fashioning only comes with years of friendship.  

Kind of surprising, considering how that friendship began.

Eleven years ago Sarah and I met in halls of residence at university. We were also on the same course, but as we both made a point of not attending lectures unless they were strictly necessary, our paths never really crossed in that capacity. Which is maybe why, although we both sat in the crowded Ewing House common room watching Neighbours every night at 5.30, and lived only two floors apart, we’d never chatted much until one fateful afternoon in Gap Kids on Prince's Street.

Sarah was there, shopping for her brother (who was five, maybe six years old at the time). I was there shopping for myself. I remember it well because I’d just found a pair of socks featuring a jaunty-looking sausage dog wearing a tiara, when I bumped into Sarah. We made a bit of awkward small talk, I showed her the socks, and I explained, “I really like Gap Kids, it’s much nicer than Gap.”

And Sarah responded.

“Well, I wouldn’t say nicer.”

Knowing Sarah as I know her now, I realise that she was probably just keen to discuss what was going on in the Womenswear department (back in 2000, probably a lot of cargo pant action). But at the time, I took her comment personally. Very personally. Our conversation ended pretty abruptly and I left Gap Kids – obviously stopping to pay for the socks, nothing was coming between me and those puppy tiaras.

I don’t really remember when or how we got to know each other after that. In many ways I’m shocked that we did. But by the end of first year, the whole Gap Kids incident was (almost) forgotten and Sarah was one of my best friends and my favourite shopping buddy. 

Since then we’ve endured some hideous nights studying together, lived together in two different cities, visited each other in different countries when we’ve lived abroad, shopped around the world, and, well, we’ve moved from 18-year-old students to nearly 30-year-old (eek) supposed grown ups and seen each other go through all the surprises, decisions, disappointments, achievements and outfits involved in that process.

At the moment, Sarah’s living in Stockholm.

Which is why on Friday night I was arriving at Stockholm central station with many ants in my pants about the weekend ahead. Sarah was waiting for me. I admired her ultra blue jeans. She admired by pink ones. And so began a weekend of much fun, the best Mulberry window display I’ve ever seen (stay tuned for PICTURES), animal-themed homeware, and a purse in the shape of a raccoon with actual faux fur features.

But you’ll have to wait, because I have to do some work. In the meantime, here’s an ad I really enjoyed in Stockholm. It features a shopping Sloth. And some Swedish people, clearly impressed with his fashion choices. Nice.

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