Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Why we should make International Mori Day a thing again.

Hello my deers! Happy (late) new year! I've been quite busy in my personal life recently, but I wanted to stop by and give you all a short post. (Also, the results of my recent survey are in the works! I have a lot of data to sort through and little time to do it. But I promise it's on its way!)

Today, I'd like to talk to you about something known as International Mori Day. 

It's likely that if you have even been somewhat involved in J-fashion for any length of time, you've heard of International Lolita Day (or ILD). ILD is a day when many people who wear lolita fashion get together for meet-ups, dress up and share their outfits on social media, and generally spread the word about lolita fashion to the masses! However, did you know there is such a thing as International Mori Day?

A while back on the International Mori Fashion and Lifestyle Facebook group, 2014 to be exact, a fellow mori person suggested creating our own version of ILD. Thus, International Mori Day was born! Sadly, it never really caught on fully, and most people have either never heard of it, or forgotten about it. But I would love to see it brought back and celebrated by the mori community internationally.

The collage created during the first International Mori Day event in 2014. (If you look closely you can see me, and maybe some other familiar faces!)

So, if we started our own day of celebration, what would we do? I think we should try to emulate the aspects of ILD that make it so special and fun for the lolita community. Of course, meetups are fun if you can, but for the majority of us with no local community, we can share outfit photos with one another, celebrate and share our love for mori on social media, get a buzz going, share fun crafty posts, and anything really! Just celebrate the fashion we love together and keep the spirit of mori kei alive!

So, if we celebrate this day, when would it be held? Well, the first IMD was held the third Saturday in Sept of 2014. So this day would be the easiest to revive and keep going. However, I think we should do bi-annually, like ILD. Maybe both September and the third Saturday in April or May. This would allow for Fall and Spring outfits, and a lot of variety in content.

So, what do you think? Would you participate in International Mori Day? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! I think this would be a fantastic way to keep mori relevant and alive in the J-Fashion community, especially now that mori has all but died in Japan. What do you think? 

Until next time, my deers!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

New Project: Mori Wiki

 Hello my deers! I have a small update for you all on a recent project I have been working on. That project is the Mori Girl Wiki!

To make a long story short, I've been messing around with this project for a little while now. I've soft shared it on the mori kei discord and facebook groups, but I wanted to share it here as well. 

My hope for this wiki is to create central place where everyone in the community can share and find mori resources, as well as a place to archive information. That being said, here are the things that the wiki has or that I'm working on/want to include eventually: 

  • Archived information on the fashion and its history in Japan and abroad
  • Information on various substyles and similar styles to mori in Japan and abroad
  • Information on mori media like movies, music, mori in anime and manga, and magazines
  • Self promo pages for mori creators to share their social media and works!
  • Archived pages of resources that are now defunct, as well as deleted blogs and creators (that can be accessed by the waybackmachine anyways, some are totally lost to us sadly)
  • Links to various resources across the internet (like checklists or challenges, as well as advice) as well as mori groups and social media people can join to connect with others.
Everything is still a work in progress, but I have the barebones up now. I’d love to see other mori people adding their information and expertise and promoting their content there. So feel free to jump on and edit at any time! Promo is always welcome, especially on the Notable Mori People page.

Also, if you are not willing/able to edit, but would like a promo page added for your content, please let me know! I can add that for you no problem! I'd like to see all mori folk represented here and make this a community hub for all things mori kei.

I hope you will all join me on this project I am working on. See you there!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Almost Mori: What is Lagenlook?

Today's post is a bit different from past posts in the Almost Mori Series. Today, we're talking about Lagenlook! This fashion isn't directly tied to mori fashion in any way, but often overlaps with and resembles mori fashion. So, I think it's worth a mention.

As always, if you are interested in learning more about Lagenlook, you can take a look at these links for more information.

The Name

The term Lagenlook comes from its creators in Germany. The term means "layered look" and is used to describe the baggy and layered focus of the style. It is hard to tell who originally created this name uncertain, but regardless, the name has become popular with many brands that cater to the style, and is easily recognizable in the alternative fashion community. 

The Fashion

(Picture Sources: 1, 2, 3)

Lagenlook style, at its core, features baggy clothing pieces, asymmetrical cuts, an overabundance of layers, and an overall quirky and unique style. It is mainly catered towards older women, but can also be seen worn by women as young as their 20s and 30s.

(Picture Sources: 12)

The style has many similarities to mori. For example, its focus on layers and a baggy silhouette. It also often uses natural colors, fabrics, and even occasionally lace or ruffles. Many lagenlook coordinates could also fit easily under the mori kei umbrella. 

(Picture Sources: 1, 2)

However, although the style can be very similar to mori, it can also deviate greatly from mori's aesthetic. For example, in lagenlook any colors, including bright colors, are perfectly acceptable. Bold statements like blocks of color, big jewelry pieces, and bold patterns are also often seen.

Unlike mori, lagenlook is also not necessarily nature-inspired or focused, and also has no real rules at all. It also caters to mature women and often plus-sized women as well, where mori is primarily worn by younger women.

(Picture Sources: 1, 2)

Have you heard of mori gyaru? Would you ever consider wearing the style? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and I hope you enjoyed this post! I personally love the freedom of the style and its popularity with older wearers. 

For more information on "Almost Mori" fashion styles, check out the posts below:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Strega vs Mori: The Differences

Have you ever browsed the mori tags and noticed a reoccurring tag titled "strega"? The term is often used alongside mori kei and other alternative fashions, especially dark mori. However, although many seem to use the word interchangeably, the term actually has its own unique history that most are unaware of. Today, I want to tell you a little more about strega fashion, its history, and how it relates to mori kei.


Back in the early days of mori kei, the Tumblr mori community was very active and always creating and defining new substyles. One of these, dark mori, became quite popular, quite quickly. Many people who enjoyed mori kei and goth fashion began wearing the style and using the tag. However, the rules of mori, while loose, meant that the fashion was constrained. For some, this was fine, but for others, they wanted to participate in the style while having the ability to create freer, more expressive coordinates that deviated from the normal mori style. This is where strega comes into play.

One Tumblr user, Mai-magi (previously known as shortcuttothestars) created the term strega to use for a similar witchy aesthetic, inspired by dark mori fashion, but that was much broader than mori kei. The word "strega" is an Italian word meaning "witch," echoing the core aspect of the style: dressing like you think a witch might dress. Mai-magi had previously been active in the dark mori community, so when the term was created, it was quickly adopted by other dark mori enthusiasts who felt a similar way.

The name saw some controversy amongst users, as strega is often used in describing paganism. Some felt that this use of the term for a fashion style was inappropriate because it appropriated pagan culture. However, these days, it seems to be more widely accepted.

The original posts about the creation of strega are hard to find as Mai-magi's username has changed over the years. They may also have even been deleted. But, for a time, she participated in both dark mori and strega, before distancing herself from dark mori almost entirely, and from the term strega somewhat as well. However, on her Instagram, she still uses the tag to this day. But she no longer promotes it or herself as its creator, like she once did. 

The Fashion

So what is strega fashion, and how does it differ from its predecessor, dark mori? The answer is surprisingly simple.

Mori, while a somewhat loose style in terms of rules, still has a general silhouette and things that give outfits a similar aesthetic. This is not true for strega. The only rule in strega is to dress how you like, and to dress how a witch might dress. That's it! So, to put it simply, strega is anything at all! It is up to the wearer's interpretation to say what strega is to them.

In it's most simple terms, we can say then that mori can be included in strega, but strega can't be called mori. 

By strega's definition, anything dark mori would count under the strega umbrella. Many who wear dark mori use both tags alongside each other. This is perfectly acceptable. As a dark mori coord can be counted under the strega umbrella.

Sometimes people will also blend dark mori with more witchy, or strega, aspects. Such as using symbols of wicca or paganism in their coordinates, wearing bones or other creepy accessories, or incorporating other similar themes.


When things become a bit tricky for the mori kei community is that often people assume strega is the same as mori, and tag all strega outfits with both strega and mori tags. However, this is not the case. Strega encompasses a large variety of styles, including modern goth fashion, casual outfits, punk, and many, many more. All of these are acceptable uses of the term strega, but clearly deviate from mori kei. This makes the use of both tags interchangeably incorrect.


Which Tags Should I Use?

So, final thoughts. For those who want to use the term strega, feel free! The style was created to be broad enough to include many fashions. If you enjoy goth or witchy fashion, then this may be a great tag for you. However, if you want to use the term strega and dark mori, or just dark mori, be aware that dark mori has its own rules and aesthetic, and the two, while similar, can't be used interchangeably.

I hope you enjoyed this quick look into strega fashion. I was around in the community when it was created, but never participated in the trend myself. Have you heard of strega before? Would you considered wearing the style, or using the term? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Mori Music Finds: Misc (8)

Hello my deers! Today I have another collection of mori music finds for you! I don't have individual messages for each song or artist this time, but I hope you enjoy anyways and find something new to listen to!

1) You are a Gift from The Undateables Soundtrack

2) 郭采洁 Amber Kuo - 一页台北 (Au Revoir Taipei)

3) ぼくたちの失敗 (Bokutachi no Shippai) by 森田童子 (Doji Morita)

4) おいでよ (Oide yo) by コトリンゴ (Kotoringo)

5) Painovoimaa, valoa by Lau Nau

Monday, June 1, 2020

Trend-ization: How the Movement of Trends in Mori Brands Impacted How the Community Views Mori Kei

Recently, I have noticed a changing aesthetic in mori kei. Gradually, the style has moved from a distinct style that is easy to spot, to a more simplified version of its previous self. This change has long fascinated me, and I wanted to see how this happened and how to properly describe this phenomenon. After some thinking and research, I think I've come up with the answer, and I want to share it with all of you.

But first, a disclaimer. If you dress/think this way, no worries! Nothing is wrong with that, and I am certainly not saying you should stop or change what you're doing. Instead, I'm simply trying to describe how the community has changed and start a conversation about the nature of fashion.

What is "Traditional Mori?"

So let's begin! First, we need to decide what constitutes as "traditional mori" fashion, as opposed to this "new" version I have noticed. My personal definition would be as follows.

Traditional mori kei is a fashion that focused on layers, originally a fashion style moreso than a lifestyle, and was often very detailed. When I think of "traditional mori," I think of street snaps and magazines. Even when outfits were simple or darker in tone, they still had a detailed and purposeful feel. They never felt similar to modern fashion trends, and the silhouette or clothing types always set it apart. It was clear from first sight that it was something different from what you would see every day, and did not too closely resemble even other fashion styles in Japan at the time.

Wonder Rocket Shop Girls in the early 2010s

This traditional style dominated the mori scene until I would say around 2011 or so, with very little major changes or evolutions. Although many mori folk still wear this style, or something close to it, a bigger change has taken place in the community that has gradually changed the fashion.

What happened to Traditional Mori?

I've discussed the deterioration of the mori tags before, and it is true that a lot of the tag is now completely unrelated content. However, I've also noticed a lot of natural-esque coordinates being tagged that are not specifically mori but vaguely fit the aesthetic. This simplified version of the style is what I want to focus on today. Specifically, how it became a larger and accepted part of the style and community.

Natural fashion certainly fits under the mori umbrella (or the other way around depending on how you look at it), and natural trends have often been popular in Japan and abroad. But it has been a recent phenomenon that they were considered by the community at large to fit as mori kei. For example, coordinates that have a natural feel but feature un-mori aspects are now often tagged as such. (Examples include Liz Lisa coords, everyday fashion with a more hipster feel, a person wearing a floral dress, sweater, and boots, and so on.) In mori's early days, such outfits would never have been considered mori, and would rather be termed mori inspired or casual mori at best. So what changed?

My personal hypothesis is the focus on trends that has gradually taken over fashion styles in Japan also moved to impact mori kei. This "trends focus" has impacted many things, and most notably has had a big impact on J-fashion brands. Although brands in mori have never been huge, brands and magazines have always influenced the style greatly. And by studying their gradual evolution to trends based fashion, I think we can begin to see what happened to mori kei.

For an example, I want to examine the very popular mori brand, Wonder Rocket. First, because it has the most online information preserved of any mori brand. And two, because I think it paints a very clear picture of this phenomenon.

Wonder Rocket and Trends

Early Wonder Rocket Store

Early wonder rocket outfits were traditional mori, no question about it. The coordinates posted by the shop girls were also traditional and served to influence the fashion. Street snaps at the time also saw a lot of the brand's pieces being used, and it was very popular and well known. It was the hub of mori in Harajuku. It didn't run the style completely, but it greatly influenced the "street snap" version of the style that most people came to associate as the picture of the fashion. Of course, some outfit shots or catalog photographs were simpler to show off specific pieces, but walking into the store or looking at their website, it was clear that they were mori first and foremost.

Early Wonder Rocket Outfits and Pieces

The exact year that this began to change is hard to pinpoint. However, to the best of my abilities, I believe it started towards the end of 2011. I have come to this conclusion due to a few photos that were preserved of the fall collection from that year courtesy of this blog post. The brand's website is now down, as their store is now closed, so I have to rely on pictures and other sources from individuals who have archived the various releases.

Wonder Rocket Fashion towards the later 2010s

Starting at least in 2011, Wonder Rocket began to move from specifically mori focused, to more mori inspired. Clear signs of this shift are seen in the many shorter hemlines similar to the popular brand Liz Lisa that are released. Additionally, you can see more simple pieces with very little detail. However, at first, it still remains mori-esque. But even that began to gradually change.

Towards its end, Wonder Rocket opened a sister store Momo. (Whether this brand was opened before or after is unclear, but it is assumed to be after. In either case, both brands greatly influenced each other.) Momo was supposedly a sister store, but instead of mori pieces it featured only mainstream trends and looks with a slight natural or boho feel. Slowly, as the stores influenced one another, Wonder Rocket began to produce the same.

Momo Storefront
Late Wonder Rocket Coords
Although pictures of the last few lines released by Wonder Rocket are no longer available, I can say from visiting the site myself in its last days that, before it closed, the brand was almost entirely trends based. When they finally closed their doors, they were no longer recognizable as a mori brand, and instead could have passed as any other boutique.

Wonder Rocket and the J-fashion Community at Large

Wonder Rocket isn't the only brand that this phenomenon has happened to. For example, simply search mori kei on AliExpress and you have to wade through many mainstream pieces to find anything mori. However, it is important to note that this has happened to almost all fashion styles in Japan, not just mori. Harajuku is no longer is the hub of J-fashion it once was, as tourists overrun the area and push out those who previously would inhabit those spaces. Westernized trends are more widely seen than styles nowadays as well. Just look at how few styles have been created in recent years. In some ways, we may have reached the end of J-fashion as we knew it, at least for the foreseeable future.

For mori, I think this change took hold firmly and quickly, and especially became prevalent when western influence began to dominate the fashion. Without a hub driving the fashion in Harajuku, the style became adrift in a way. No longer was the style driven by a small group that dictated what it should be. Instead, slowly, other cultures and trends have invaded, for both better and worse.

Don't get me wrong, this phenomenon is not truly good or bad, but has definitely influenced the fashion and evolved it greatly. As westernized fashion is almost exclusively based on mainstream trends, mori has followed that to an extent. I think this is why we have seen the growth in casual and inspired styles becoming more accepted as the main face of the fashion.

Final Thoughts

For me, I don't mind that the style has evolved. I also don't mind accepting simpler versions of mori that have long existed as bigger parts of the fashion. Mori has always been fluid and diverse, and it's something that I love about the fashion.

However, it is a bit concerning to me that more stripped-down versions of the style are becoming the sole face of the fashion. I worry that the unique aspects that make mori so special will become obsolete for a more mainstream-focused and watered-down version of the fashion. Again, this is not necessarily bad, I just really love the "traditional mori" feel and I would hate to see that version of the fashion disappear for good.

So, what are your thoughts on the evolution of mori kei? I would love to hear what you think! Until next time, my deers.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Cottagecore vs. Mori Kei: What's the difference?

Cottagecore has become wildly popular on the internet recently, and, as such, has attracted a bit of attention from the mori community. Due to their similar aesthetics, many mori folk have begun asking, what is the difference between the two? Is cottagecore just another version of mori kei?

I personally am uninvolved in the cottagecore movement, so when these questions started coming my way, I was a bit confused about how to respond. What exactly was cottagecore? Was it different at all, or just a new name for mori kei? So I went down a rabbit hole of research, and I think now I can safely communicate the differences between the two and what sets the two communities apart.

I will say, one person actually beat me to this, so I will link their post on the subject here, but they didn't go into as much detail as I would like to, so I still feel like I have something worth posting.

Also, before I begin, I want to first say I won't be touching on the various cottagecore controversies that have popped up on tumblr from time to time. I have no idea what the consensus is on these issues or their validity, and as I'm not involved in the group at all I don't feel like I am qualified to speak on these issues. Instead, I want to focus on what the aesthetic looks like and how it is similar/different to mori. If you have questions on these issues or come across them, I suggest asking those actually in the community who can speak better on them than I can.

That being said, let's take a look at the differences, and similarities between cottagecore and mori kei!

What is cottagecore?


Cottagecore is a visual-based microgenre and aesthetic based tag that originated on tumblr. While aesthetics are predominant on many social media sites, including Instagram and more recently, TikTok, the community is thriving especially on Tumblr with a rather large following and many blogs. However, cottagecore content has also seen a rise on sites like Instagram and TikTok as well.

The cottagecore aesthetic, according to one person in the community, is, "all about softness and being gentle, and kind, and nurturing." Another said it is like animal crossing in real life. It usually includes photos centered around (usually, although not always) girls, who live on farms and raise bees and sheep and pick flowers. That is a very concise version of cottagecore the best I understand it. But we'll get into the details of what the aesthetic looks like more in a moment.

Similarities and Differences in Aesthetic


Cottagecore's aesthetic is almost identical to mori, as it has many similarities due to its nature-based focus. For example, both commuties promote a focus on slow or simple living, a love of nature, and similar lifestyles or photography aesthetics (such as cottages, pastures, foraging, fields, flowers, etc.)

However, although the aesthetic is very similar, there are a few, small differences between the two. For example, the mori aesthetic focuses more on the actual forest, and often includes slightly more toned down themes compared to cottagecores always sunny aesthetic.

Let me explain. To give an example, think of mori magazine snaps. Similar to cottagecore, they may have pictures of models in cottages. However, when it comes to pictures in nature, you are more likely to see a model posed in an actual forest, amongst the trees, then in a field or near a farm (although those would certainly also count as mori as well.) Whereas for cottagecore, the aesthetic is based around the cottage, around the bright sunny field, and around the fields of flowers.

This distinction is barely noticeable, and honestly doesn't really matter all that much, but it is important to know that cottagecore's central image is this always bright and sunny aesthetic. If I could compare cottage core to a color, it would be a bright, but light, yellow. Whereas mori's color would be more along the likes of a deep bark-like brown, or deep leaf-like green. Again, a small, subtle difference. To me, cottagecore's aesthetic feels kind of like mori mixed with shabby chic, and topped off with a ray of sunlight!

Some other small differences in cottagecore that are worth noting are that it focuses much more heavily on agricultural life or farming, than mori kei. Also, uniquely tied into the aesthetic is the idea of self-care, and more of a direct connection to environmental activism than mori kei (although many mori do also care about the environment and self-care as well).

Where cottagecore actually starts to look quite different is when cottagecore fashion is involved.

Similarities and Differences in Fashion

Like with aesthetics, there are certainly some areas of cottagecore fashion that share similarities with mori, but these similarities are much smaller. Some examples of similarities include that both use natural colors or floral colors, both use similar patterns like floral and gingham, and both are likely to include embroidered details to clothing, handcrafted accessories, lace, or aprons (although aprons are much more popular in PINK HOUSE style/natural kei than mori).

The differences are much more distinct. Mainly, cottagecore fashion is a very wide variety of styles. Although some outfits may look like a more casual or stripped down mori look, more often then not they will more closely resemble an outfit from Little House on the Prairie, or natural kei, or a 1950s housewife, or even more bold looks with patterns like paisleys. To sum it up, cottagecore fashion is anything that fits the aesthetic, so it is very varied in type and often focuses more on vintage fashions than anything else. For example, a floral 1950s house dress with an apron, or a modern outfit with a vintage twist, would be more commonly seen in cottagecore fashion than a mori-esque outfit.

Again, mori could be considered compatible with cottagecore fashion, but not all cottage core fashion could be considered mori.

Personal Thoughts

The best way I can think to sum up the differences between cottagecore and mori is this: cottagecore is aesthetic and visual-based, but mori is fashion based. The two communities can certainly overlap and exist together, and do with no issues, but they are also distinct from one another due to this fact about their core focus. Despite the growing movement of mori lifestylers, it cannot be denied that mori kei started as a fashion first and foremost, and the fashion is what sets aside the community. Without the fashion, mori would not exist. 

This is why I always say mori is a fashion first and lifestyle second. Some people don't like that distinction, saying that it pushes out those who don't wear the style but still want to be a part of the community, but I think the distinction matters. And I don't think it means we can't have both fashion and lifestyle members of the community. It makes you no less mori to be a mori-lifestyler, but I think we can also still say that what sets mori apart is the fashion first and foremost, whether or not you participate in that aspect of the fashion.

So what are your thoughts on cottagecore? Do you enjoy the aesthetic? Are you a part of both communities? Are there any other similarities or differences that you've noticed? Either way, I hope I was able to explain cottagecore correctly (please let me know if there is anything I can improve on!), and I hope you learned something new.

Until next time, my deers!