Wednesday, September 27, 2017

An Introduction to Mori Kei


In all of my years writing a Mori focused blog, I have yet to make an introductory post to Mori kei. This is because until recently I just didn't feel the need to. There were already hundreds of blog posts about the subject, and they covered it pretty extensively. However, most Mori blogs are starting to shut down or become inactive, so I think now is a good time for me to compile everything in one place so that none of it is lost. So, without further ado, here is an introduction to Mori kei.

History:

Mori kei, first known as Mori Girl, was created around 2006 when a Japanese woman named Choco made a Mori girl community on Mixi (Mixi is similar to Facebook). There had been a few girls who had been wearing the style in Harajuku (the Japanese fashion district) before this, but Choco gave it an official name and created a list of rules for the style. These rules were a loose guideline, and not even the original Mori Girls followed them completely, but regardless, they gave a basis for what the style was and wasn't. "Mori" is a Japanese word meaning "forest", so the original style name was, essentially, "forest girl". The style later developed its second name, Mori Kei, kei meaning something close to "style", by those looking to make it more inclusive. It also spurred some sub-cultures, such as Hama Kei (ocean style), Yama Kei (mountain style), Dark Mori GirlMori Gyaru, and Mori Boy. However, none of these styles compared to the popularity which Mori Girl would eventually develop.

After the creation of the Mixi and Choco's list, Mori Girl quickly began to gain traction as a popular street style in Harajuku. Many street snaps appeared within the year in popular street snap magazines and on street snap websites. In addition, it soon made its debut in fashion magazines as well. Publications like Spoon, Mori Girl Lesson, and Fudge began to produce issues dedicated to the Mori style and became another basis for what the style was and was not.


(The cover page of Mori Girl Lesson Number 5)

(The cover page of a Mori Girl edition of Spoon)

Mori also found its way into media, with artists like Popoyans wearing the style and creating music inspired by it, and the anime Honey and Clover, who had a main character who wore the style.


(Popoyans)


(Honey and Clover)

Mori Girl brands also began to pop up around this time. Wonder Rocket, one of the most highly recognized Mori brands, opened its doors to Harajuku in 2007, and online shops, such as DearLi, began to appear as well. By this point, Mori Girl had become one of the most prominent Japanese fashions, rivaling those such as Dolly Kei, Cult Party Kei, Lolita, and Decora, at one point or another.


(Wonder Rocket's original store)


(DearLi)

Some of the early "Mori girls" in Japan were interviewed in this short video. The english is very broken, but I think that the way the interviewer explains Mori is very charming, and worth a watch.


Mori Girl began to fade as a street style around 2013-2014, with street snaps beginning to slow before disappearing altogether. A lot of prominent internet Mori personalities began to deactivate their blogs around this time as well, and a lot of smaller brands disappeared. In addition, Mori officially made its exit from Harajuku in this period, with Wonder Rocket making the switch to more mainstream fashion instead of Mori catered pieces, and later closing its doors in 2017 (although its sister store Momo still remains open selling mainstream fashion pieces).  However, the fashion is still alive, although the numbers of participants have diminished greatly. Nowadays, there are still some active Mori girls in Japan, but the majority of active Mori girls are now in the international community.

Fashion: 

Mori Kei fashion has a lot of variation. However, there are a few basics that almost always remain constant throughout the style.

1) Natural Fabrics



Mori fashion focuses on natural themes, so it is no surprise that the favored fabrics are natural as well. Things such as cotton and lace are quite popular choices, although other fabrics that may not necessarily be considered natural in composition can be used if they appear natural in looks.

2) Naural colors



The colors most often found in Mori are creams, whites, and browns. However, that doesn't mean that all colors used in Mori are beige. For a bit more variety, colors such as natural greens, lighter blues, and light pinks are popular. Patterns are acceptable as well, with florals, nature prints (such as leaves or deer), or small stripes being the most common.

3) Layers



Mori is all about layers! This is the one thing that defines the style and never changes. Whether it is simply the appearance of layers or 15 articles of clothing, the silhouette is what matters. Layers are usually asymmetrical, and a common way to achieve the silhouette is to layer multiple dresses and skirts, or for a more boyish silhouette, baggy pants and lots of shirts, scarves, and sweaters can be used.

4) Natural Hair



Hairstyles in Mori Kei are generally conservative. They can be as short as pixie cuts, or rather long, but generally, there are no unnatural hair colors or large shaved areas of hair. However, there are Mori folk who do wear their hair in more wild styles, which can also work with the fashion. However, the traditional Mori hairstyles are rather simple.

5) Minimal makeup (or none at all)



The general rule for Mori Kei and makeup is that your face should look as natural as possible. Rosy cheeks are a popular touch, as well as natural lip colors and minimal eye makeup. Some Mori Folk prefer to ditch makeup altogether. There have been cases where people have worn more intense makeup looks, such as fawn inspired makeup, but the general rule is the less makeup the better.

6) Nature-themed accessories



Mori accessories tend to focus on natural themes: a mushroom necklace, rose earrings, flower crowns, and other similar motifs. Gold is the most popular metal used, especially when it looks weathered, although silver can be used as well. Overall, mori accessories are simply meant to carry on the forest theme.

7) Practical shoes



Mori girls tend to like shoes made of natural material, or shoes that would work well in nature. For instance, boots are a popular choice of shoe. Shoes are often round toed as well, and usually have no heels, or a small practical heel.

Like most fashions, Mori has seen a lot of fluidity over the years. As I've talked about on this blog before, many people have interpreted the style in new ways, and they continue to do so. However, the majority of mori fashion does follow the points listed above pretty consistently.

Lifestyle:

Mori Girl does not have any set lifestyle. It exists simply as a fashion style. However, there are some hobbies and activities that fit in well with the aesthetic, so many Mori folk have used these ideas to create their own versions of what the Mori lifestyle might be, with each of these ideas differing from one another. However, there has, since the beginning, existed a sort of attitude within the Mori kei community that lingers to this day. I could try to sum up this idea of "Mori lifestyle" myself, but I always find myself drawn to an old post by the classic Mori Girl Blog, which says it much better than I could ever hope to.
"In her own quiet way, the mori girl is an individualist. She does not care that the world may live differently from her. She lives consciously and chooses her own lifestyle. The mori girl often looks whimsical or quirky. When she shops, she buys something based on how it makes her feel, rather than on how fashionable or expensive it will appear to others. While she may enjoy the company of others, the mori girl loves her own company and indeed has embarked on many of her most memorable adventures alone."- Mori Girl Blog
Additional Information:

A lot of the original information on Mori came from blogs and websites that have since closed, so it's almost impossible to cite anything on this topic (which is an absolute nightmare to a History major like me). However, I felt it important to put all of this information here all in one place even if I couldn't properly cite things. I do have some other resources you can check out if you're interested in learning more about what Mori kei is. Dear Miss Kellie, Moss Marchen, Naomi N' Doll, Mori Girl Blog, and Bling Tree G have all made some great overviews of what Mori is. There is also a Mori boy checklist similar to Choco's checklist for Mori girls if you are interested in that.

As always, if I've missed anything you feel is central to what Mori Kei is, please let me know. Also, if I've completely butchered any of the facts, please let me know that as well so I can correct them. I hope you enjoy this overview of the style. If you're new to the style, I hope this has given you a clearer idea of what the style is, and maybe sparked your interest! If Mori is an old hat to you, then I hope that maybe you've learned something new that you hadn't known before!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: Describe your ideal ‘mori day.’

Morning:

  • Wake up naturally to the sunlight filtering in through the curtains
  • Have a homemade breakfast, and a cup of tea
  • Read a chapter of a mori-esque book
  • Go on a short morning walk and enjoy the natural scenery
Afternoon:
  • Ride a bike into town
  • Visit some small shops and window shop (antique shops, thrift stores, bookstores, etc.)
  • Eat lunch at a small, local cafe
  • Sketch at a local park
Evening:
  • Return home for a homemade meal
  • Sit by the fire and play an instrument
  • Fall asleep with the window open to the sound of a light rain shower outside

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: What other fashions are you interested in if any?

I like a lot of alternative fashions, but I don't wear any others than Mori Kei. Dolly Kei is probably my second favorite alternative fashion. I really enjoy the aesthetic. I also like Cult Party Kei and Lagenlook. Those are all fashions that I might consider wearing in the future, but I just don't right now.





I also have some alternative fashions that I appreciate, but I that I probably would never wear. Things like Lolita, and Gyaru. They're cute, they just aren't really my aesthetic.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 28

Day 28: Has getting into mori girl changed your perspective on life or how you live at all? how so?

Overall, I would say mori hasn't changed my life that much. It's obviously affected how I dress, and what types of clothing I enjoy and purchase. It has also somewhat influenced my decor choices, as I am now more drawn to natural decor than I was before. But other than that it hasn't changed much.

Most of my interests have stayed the same, although some of them have expanded to include different, mori-esque version of themselves. For instance, I've always loved all kinds of music, but after getting into mori I started listening to mori music more. But none of my interests have completely changed since wearing mori. Before mori, I already lived a life that fits in pretty well with the mori aesthetic. I already loved nature, liked living simply, and enjoyed mori-esque crafts. I think this is the case for a lot of mori folk. We already liked mori things, we just didn't know there was a fashion for what we liked.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: What’s your favorite fairy tale or myth?

My favorite fairy tale is the 12 months. It was collected by the Brothers Grimm but was not created by them. It's been around for a long time, and its creation has been attributed to a lot of different cultures. The most commonly credited countries are Greece, Chezch Republic, Russia, and other Slavic countries. You can read one version of the story here if you'd like.

It;s my favorite tale because it ends more realistically than most fairy tales. I won't spoil the ending, but just suffice it to say that the end doesn't see the heroine become a princess for no other reason then she was in the right place at the right time. The happy ending comes about because the heroine had to work for it.


(Picture Source)

Side note, as I was looking up information on this fairy tale, I found a trailer of a foreign film inspired by the 12 Months. It looks a bit cheesy, but also kind of cute. Unfortunately, I can't find any real information on it as I don't speak the language, but it looks like a cute mashup of some of the popular fairy tales.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: When you’re out in nature, where do you often find yourself? (in the woods, a lake, river, etc. what’s your favorite spot? describe it for us!)

I love all aspects of nature, but my favorite places to be are near rivers and in forests. My favorite spot in nature is a place at a natural park. It's near a river, in the middle of a nature preserve on a rugged trail. The spot is up above the river, about 100 feet in the air, and it's a large rock that you can climb. At the very top, there is a spot that is flat and overlooks both the forest and the river. My favorite time to visit the spot is in the fall when I can look out and see all of the beautiful colors there.

Here are some pictures of that area, both my favorite spot and the trail leading up to it.

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on


Monday, September 11, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: What’s your favorite animal and why?

It's not possible for me to pick only one animal, so I'm going to tell you about all of my favorite animals!

1) Western Hognose Snake

They're derpy danger noodles with button noses. If that isn't reason enough to like them, they throw temper tantrums where they pretend to be dead, and it's hilarious.




2) Quokka

These precious fur babies smile all the time, and just look so cuddly and precious. They're only in Australia though, so chances are I'll never get to see one.


3) Foxes

They just have such precious personalities, and they're such beautiful creatures. I've always loved them, and, by the way, their noises are adorable.


 4) Deer

We see deer a lot in my area, and they've always been one of my favorites. They look so majestic, especially when I'm driving to school and I see them standing in the foggy fields.


5) Horses

I love riding horses (although I'm not very good at it), and I think they're both sweet and majestic. One of my dreams is to someday own a horse.


6) Cats

I'm probably biased on this one because I've owned a lot of wonderful cats over the years that have loved to snuggle with me. But they're so cute, and I just love them!




Sunday, September 10, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: Give us a mori girl inspired vignette! (a short, impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a particular insight into a character, idea, or setting) Don’t fret too hard over it, we’re not all writers by trade, haha.

(I quite like the vignette I wrote last time around for this challenge, so I thought I'd repost it with some slight edits to improve it. I am by no means a fantastic writer, so please cut me some slack. I'm trying my best!)

The forest had always been her solitude and her home. From a young age, it had called to her, beckoning her to join in its splendor. The tall, ancient trees always felt as if they were reaching their leafy hands out to her, wanting to entwine their twisted fingers with hers. The vast grounds, covered in absolute diversity, enchanted her. From soft grasses and beautiful wild flowers to tall weeds and rich green mosses, no bit of it was alike, but all of it was precious to her. It made her feel as if she, with her own idiosyncrasies and quirks, finally had a place where she could belong. The little hideaways which assisted animals in playing nature's game of hide-and-seek with the elements, the streams full with water so clear that you could see to the bottom. All of it was majestic, to say the least. Some days she ached to run away; to become a part of the forest herself.

She stood, brushed off her skirts, adjusted her pack, and headed home. Maybe one day she would fully answer its call. But for now, the world was waiting for her.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 23

Day 23: Is your hair long or short? What’s your favorite hairstyle?

My hair is currently long with shaved peekaboo in the back. I've been growing it out for around three years now, as I used to keep it very short. I like all kinds of hairstyles, but my favorite types of hairstyles are long wavy or curly hairstyles. I also like the natural looking bobs, but I don't think they look good on me personally.

(Here's what my hair looks like up, when you can see the shaved part.)


(Here's what my hair looks like down. It completely covers the shaved part and you can't even tell I have it.)

A post shared by Kathryn Elaine (@forestsandtea) on


Friday, September 8, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 22

Day 22: What trends do you see taking the mori girl community by storm soon?

There haven't been any mori trends in a long time, but there has been some discussion within the mori community lately about some things that people would like to see more often in mori, so I think that these types of things may catch on soon.

1) Cinched waists

I've found that a lot of mori folk have been complaining that due to their body types they feel mori is unflattering on them. Some have begun to use belts and clothing with cinched waists to try and combat this. I think it's a cute look, so I'm excited to see what people will do with it.

2) Lighter layers

This is mostly in the case of mori folk who live in warmer climates. They've found that it's almost impossible to wear the classic idea of mori, so they've had to somewhat modify mori to fit their daily lives. It still looks mori, but it's fewer layers, and sometimes uses lighter fabrics than normal.

3) Brighter colors

A lot of mori folk are coming over from other styles, where they are used to wearing brighter, more vibrant colors, and they want to continue wearing these colors. I've already seen some mori folk working with this, but I expect to see a lot more of it soon.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: Where do you get most of your Mori clothes?

I always tell people that 90% of my wardrobe is thrifted. And that's pretty close to the truth. I really enjoy thrifting because it's affordable and you can find some really unique pieces. However, if you want those truly classic mori pieces, then it's worth it to buy something from a brand of some sort. So when I want something like that, I purchase things from Aliexpress. I only have a handful of pieces from there though, as the majority of mori pieces made in Asia don't fit my body type, but the few I do have I really like. I also occasionally find good pieces here and there at regular stores. Places like the average department store, or Cracker Barrel, or other places like that. But again, that's only a few pieces here and there. The majority of my clothing still comes from thrift shops.




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 20

Day 20: How do you feel about the fairly prevalent use of fur in Mori Kei?



I've already mentioned before that I hate the negativity that surrounds the fur debate, so please, let's not fight over this. Whether you agree or disagree with me here, that's fine. I'd love to hear your personal opinions on this, I've heard a lot of interesting viewpoints from people over the years, but I won't tolerate any nastiness towards one another. Just be nice, and be civil!

My own personal feelings about the fur debate are that using fur is almost always not okay. I am okay with thrifted fur though. I know that some people feel wearing any kind of fur, thrift, new, or even fake, is supporting the negativity of the fur industry. However, I feel like if you find an old fur piece at the thrift store, then you are not actively supporting the negative practices of the fur industry, so it's fine for you to wear it. You are not promoting their brand, and they will get no money from you for the purchase. I personally wouldn't wear any piece of real fur though. It just really weirds me out to think that I'm wearing a dead animal on me.

As for new fur pieces, as an ethical person, vegetarian, and someone concerned with the environment, I just cannot support that. There are just too many problems with the fur industry, and even if you are okay with using animals for things like food and supplies, the cruelty and waste of the industry are just inexcusable all around.

Fake and faux fur is alright with me. But I would be wary of what it is made of. It's often made of harmful and non-disposable elements so I wouldn't go out and buy a ton of fake fur just because it's fake. But again, that's up to you to decide.

So how about you? How do you feel about fur? As I said before, I'd love to hear everyone's diverse opinions. Just stay kind to one another please!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: Are you inspired by your own culture? If so, how do you incorporate it?

I'm not inspired by the current culture in my country, but I am most definitely inspired by women's fashion from the past. (I'm from the United States, just incase you weren't aware.)

One period of history where the clothing really speaks to me is around the Revolutionary War/French and Indian War period, in the 1700s. I love the layers of skirts and the charming silhouettes. I re-enacted at a local event that was around this period for a little while, and I always felt extra feminine and beautiful when wearing the costumes.






I'm also inspired by the traditional Cherokee Tear Dresses. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I have some Cherokee heritage, so I've always been interested in, and inspired by, their culture.



The fashion of Pioneer Women also inspires me. Maybe it's because I grew up with Little House on the Prairie, but I just love the whole look.





I also love children's fashion from the Victorian Era, in specific the Pinafore Dress. It's just so charming to me. This may also be because, growing up, my favorite American Girl Doll was Samantha. But I just love it.




I try to incorporate bits and pieces of these fashions where I can. I usually go for the silhouettes in my own outfits and sometimes the color palettes where it's appropriate for mori.

How about you? Are you inspired by any part of your culture? I'd love to hear your answers!