Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brand or Thrift?

A common question for new mori folks is often where on earth they can find mori clothing. It can be quite daunting to jump into a style as obscure and different from mainstream fashion as mori, so it's only natural to wonder where to being! People are always asking whether they should buy their wardrobe from online brands, and places like taobao and aliexpress. Or should they purchase their clothing from thrift stores instead? Some people go for one or the other, and some even claim one is more "mori" than the other, but I personally fall somewhere in the middle. The majority of my closet is thrifted, but I have purchased from brand stores as well, and I love both options! So today I would like to give you a quick rundown of buying brand versus thrifting, and some of the pros and cons of both, to give you a better idea of where to start!

So let's start by talking about brand pieces. By brand, I mean pieces specifically designed for mori fashion, usually sold by Chinese or Japanese companies. You can find these pieces from Japanese stores, or on sites like taobao and aliexpress.

Some of the pros:

  • It's easier to find specific sorts of pieces when buying brand. You can search up "mori lace skirt" and find exactly what you want, hopefully in your size, within minutes. Very great for when you need a specific piece in your wardrobe!
  • It's fast! All the clothes you need are only a quick search away, which is great for when you don't like shopping, or just don't have the time to sift through piles and piles of clothes.
  • The pieces you buy will be specifically catered to mori, so there will be no need for altering of any kind, as the clothes are already tailor-made for your style.

Some of the cons:

  • Buying brand pieces can be expensive. Not everything is expensive, but often each piece will run around 30 USD and up. I've found dresses that cost only 25 USD, which really isn't bad, but then I've also found dresses that cost 50 USD. It doesn't seem too awful if you're just buying one dress, but if you want to buy multiple pieces to start a mori wardrobe, it can add up really fast.
  • The long shipping times. If you've ever bought anything from China, you know what I'm talking about. It can take months to receive your order, unless you pay ridiculously high shipping prices to receive it sooner.
  • The size range of clothing from Asian companies is usually very small. If you are bigger than a women's size L (in US sizes), you will have a hard time finding pieces that fit you.

So now let's talk about thrifting. By thrifting, I mean buying pieces secondhand, either in stores in your area, or through online thrift shops.

Some of the pros:

  • In most countries, thrifting is cheap! You can buy multiple pieces for the price you'd pay for one brand piece.
  • You can find some truly unique pieces that no one else in the mori community will have. This can give a touch of individuality to your outfits.
  • Thrifting is also very ethical, which is always a plus!

Some of the cons:

  • Thrifting can be very time-consuming. It takes time to sift through racks and racks of clothing, especially if you've never thrifted before and don't know quite what you're looking for.
  • It is hard to find specific sorts of pieces. It can often take multiple visits to thrift stores before you find the type of thing you are looking for, which can be frustrating if you are in need of a certain type of piece right away.

I believe that both thrifting and buying brand are great ways to get into mori kei. But whether you exclusively buy your clothing from online shops, or buy exclusively from thrift stores, or a combination of both, it doesn't matter! Just have fun building your wardrobe, and use the methods for building a wardrobe that works best for you.

Hopefully though this was somewhat helpful to you! And I'd love to hear from you if you have any other pros or cons to add to the discussion. Happy shopping my deers!


  1. I've got some thrifting advice for those who want to go that route on occasion, if not full blast:

    First, not all thrift stores are equal! A thrift store near a college or university will have better finds. Call ahead and ask if the store has specific sale days.

    Second, make friends with vintage resale people and find out where they shop. They will point you in the direction of places you'd never think to visit and give you some pro tips for finding what you're looking for.

    Third, if the thrift shop is volunteer run, volunteer. Not only will you be helping your neighbors, you'll get to see everything before it goes on the sale floor and have the opportunity to buy it first!

  2. You have some very good points on both sides! One of the things that drew me to Mori Kei is that it's not brand-centric like a lot of other fashion styles. I've never been interested in wearing designer clothes, etc.

    Being a bit larger, none of the brand will fit me anyway, so I tend to stick to mainstream shops and look for things that than be 'mori-fied'.

    I find that thrifting is a great way to find accessories - scarves, jewellery etc. Baby blankets can be used for shawls. Also, I look for sheets and pillowcases that have pretty patterns, which I can sew into a dress or skirt.

    I also agree with the above commenter - volunteer! I volunteered a long time ago, for about a year. It was before I was into mori kei, but I did find some great kawaii stuff, crockery and art.
    Happy shopping!