Success and failure in three parts

Evie Woodforde took on the tyrannical gormies (and lost)

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In June I applied to join the “Gorman Clothing Fans buy and sell” group[1] on Facebook.[2]

I was feeling pretty positive about the decision to join. After all, I am a Gorman clothing fan who likes to buy (and to a lesser extent) sell! What could go wrong!?

FAILURE

I was immediately rejected. “Ha!” I thought to myself, “They must have accidentally deleted my application.” So I clicked join again. Rejected. I felt lost, confused, like a character at the beginning of a Judy Bloom novel.

At this juncture I should point out that the Gorman Clothing Fans buy and sell group has 8,966 members (!!!). To add insult to injury, one of those members was my housemate. I turned to her for support. After all, maybe she could put in a good word with the admins! Maybe she could add me herself!

Our correspondence:

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Over the next two months I applied 15 more times. Each time, the cold and silent sting of rejection. I’d never seen such a perfectly executed hard-to-get mating ritual. I was besotted.

I started to get obsessed. Maybe I needed to overhaul my profile? Maybe I needed to be wearing Gorman in my profile picture? MAYBE I NEEDED TO FIND THE ADMINS AND KILL THEM.

My other housemate:

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SUCCESS

Then on July 4 I awoke to find my newsfeed saturated in second hand Gorman! I was too elated to even be annoyed – I was in!

This feeling lasted about 10 minutes.

FAILURE

Remember that old adage be careful what you wish for? Well yeah, that.

I rapidly realised that I hadn’t been accepted into an exclusive shopping arena, so much as into a totalitarian regime presided over by the elusive Administrators. Never before had consumerism been more of a cult.

The first hurdle was that I literally couldn’t understand a single post.

Someone would proclaim: “WTB BNWT AW’15 Jigsaw Pants – it’s my Unicorn!”[3] And I would stare at it uncomprehendingly. Why was nobody else confused? Where were they getting the Kool-aid?!

It took me hours of digging to track down a 5 page document entitled “Gorman Clothing Fans Buy and Sell Group Rules – MUST BE READ BY ALL MEMBERS”. (Alright, alright, don’t get your GUC[4] knickers in a knot!)

The Rules taught me a number of things, like that you can only post one sale item per post on pain of death (clause 1.4), the accepted “dibs” policy (clause 1.11), and that it wasn’t fascism if followed by a smiley face (general observation). Look, just writing this is probably in violation of some secrecy clause I didn’t get to.

The Administrators trawl through posts purging non-conformers. One girl, in a move to rival perestroika, dared to question the merits of a sheer bomber jacket and was expelled for impertinence. “Maybe you would be better off in the Target buy and sell group” someone commented. Ohhh, burn.

Fear reigns:

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Just like a Shakespeare tragedy, this story ends with a death – of hope, of optimism, of my dreams of a tailored shift dress in a quirky print that I could take from day to night.

(At the date of publication, I have yet to purchase anything from the Gorman Clothing Fans buy and sell group page.)

Art by Ann Ding. 

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[1] Gorman is an Australian brand which may or may not (probably not) produce ethical clothing. If you have a female friend who has (a) worn a print, (b) worn a jumpsuit or (c) lived in Melbourne, you will recognise Gorman. As I’m sure you can deduce, the page allows category (a), (b) and (c) people to buy and sell second hand Gorman.

[2] The ‘Facebook’ is the social media company that owns all your intellectual property/probably you.

[3] Translation: I want to Buy a Brand New With Tags Jigsaw pants from the 2015 Autumn/Winter collection – it is the item of clothing I really want even though it is rare.

[4] Translation: Good Used Condition.