Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mori Music Finds: Misc (5)

Hello my deers! I have yet another mori music post for you all today! I have another collection of individual songs for you this time. Hope you enjoy!

1) Love Your Life by Aki Toyosaki: This song is one of my all-time favorite pick-me-up songs! It is so happy and charming, and it never fails to make me tap my feet and bob along to the music. Aki Toyosaki has such a cute personality as well, and the lyrics of this song are just as cute as she is.

2) Sprout and the Bean by Joanna Newsom: Joana Newsom is not one of my favorite artists, as her voice is quite unique and isn't really for everyone. However, this song is absolutely catchy and a joy to listen to. And Newsom is a master harpist! So the musical accompaniment is amazing. If you find, like me, that you like the song but are not as fond of Newsom's voice (although it does grow on you!) I recommend trying these covers by molliemusicable and Jomanna Newsom. They both take this lovely song and give it their own unique twist, which I love!

3) Sally Gally by John John Festival: John John Festival are an Irish folk style group, similar to tricolor. I actually found this song through my youtube recommendations on a tricolor video! It has a similar folksy, charming feel, and it makes me want to dance along!

4) Hello (Remix) by Table for Two (originally by Adele): Okay, you might be tempted to skip this song because Hello by Adele is such a non-mori mainstream song. But hear me out. Table for Two is a highly talented duo that took this familiar song and completely remade it: tune, instruments, everything. The result is an amazingly underrated masterpiece with beautiful acoustics and a light-indie type tune. It's lovely, fun to listen to, and so much better than the original. Take a listen! I promise you won't regret it!

5) falalafala by kotoringo (コトリンゴ): What can I say about this song except it is fun, beautiful, and absolutely adorable? A good easy listener!

6) Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (The Light): This song is so soft and lovely, with a beautiful melancholy feel. I don't know much about the artist, but I've known about this song for such a long time, and it never fails to be a calming piece for me.

Have you ever heard any of these songs before? If so, how did you like them? If not, I hope you enjoyed them! Happy listening!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Substyles Mini-Series: Dark Mori

Hello my deers! Welcome to the first post in my new mini-series about mori substyles! I have been meaning to talk more about these substyles in-depth for a long time, but I just never got around to it. Today, I'll be starting off with one of the most well known (and most often misunderstood) substyles, dark mori.

There are a few posts about Dark Mori still floating around the internet, a lot of outfit photos, and the name of the style generally is common in the collective mori consciousness. A few posts I would recommend for more information about the style are Miss Kellie's post, Crow Fairy Laura's post here, one by Milk Teeth here, and one by Carnivale Salt here. However, although it is well known, the specifics about the style are often confusing, and the history of its creation is almost unknown to most.


The history of dark mori is quite interesting. Unlike mori kei, dark mori was not created in Japan, but rather on the internet by western audiences sometime around 2012. The style also appears to never have spread to Japan at all, and there are no street snaps of dark mori, or magazine looks, at least not that I can find. Regardless of its creation, the style is still considered to be an official substyle by almost everyone in the mori community.

The style was actually created by a group of various people on Tumblr and other social media platforms. One person who was well known for helping create the style is Mai Magi (previously known as shortcuttothestars). Eventually, the base ideas for dark mori and those who created it would create a new style, Strega, and leave the dark mori community. However, although they left the community behind rather quickly, the term dark mori and its style still lived on and grew to become almost as well known as mori kei itself.


As the official creators of dark mori created the style, they came to realize that many of them desired a different sort of style, one focused less on rules and the silhouette and ideals that are attached to the mori kei style. This led to the creation of Strega fashion, which has now become well known amongst online fashion communities. The style is often confused with dark mori, partially because of their similar origins, and also because of some style similarities. However, Strega officially is quite different from dark mori.

The official description via Mai Magi of Strega is as follows:
  • Strega means witch, and that theme is, therefore, the center of the fashion
  • There are no other rules
  • There are no established color schemes
  • Inspiration is taken from fairytales, folklore, and myth, all things magical and witchy
  • Inspiration is drawn from goth, boho, mori and whatever else you prefer
  • It is different from mori in that it doesn’t have any ties to japan or Japanese street fashion
  • It is different from goth in that it has no inherent ties to goth culture or music
  • NO ONE can demand to know what Strega is or exclude anyone from the fashion or tag! Strega is the witch inside us, coming out through our clothing.

You can learn more about Strega here if you are interested. But to sum things up, the creators grew tired of the restrictive nature of mori kei, and sought to create a more all-inclusive style. Because of this, Strega outfits may often resemble dark mori. But although Strega can sometimes be dark mori, dark mori cannot be Strega, as it follows the guidelines of traditional mori kei style.


So what exactly is dark mori? What makes it different from traditional mori kei? The main difference is its focus on dark color schemes, the aspect of the style that gives it its name. Black is by far the most popular color scheme for the substyle, but dark blues, dark reds, and dark browns, as well as white, are all used occasionally.

Similar to mori, dark mori focuses on the use of lace, many layers, knit fabrics, and natural fabrics. Its silhouette is almost indistinguishable from traditional mori kei, although dark mori outfits may add some "creepy" or "witchy" elements, such as ripped clothing, or witchy stripes. 
Overall, fewer prints are used in the style, with mainly stripes being used if anything. Additionally, more block colors are used in the style than mori, especially in the form of large blocks or continuous color.


Those who created the style actually worked together at its inception to create a dark mori checklist The checklist was originally hosted on the now-deleted blog Strega's Forest, which was originally a dark mori blog, that later moved to Strega with a large portion of the community. The checklist has been reuploaded to various blogs, although the original post has been lost over time. I have copied it here for you to read, and have reworded some points slightly for grammar's sake.
  • Style:
    • Wants to look like a witch or a dark fairy from the woods.
    • Likes to wear dark, dusty colors, but also jewel and earthy tones.
    • All white outfits can be pretty for a ghostly look.
    • Vintage clothes are a must.
    • Antique, used, or ragged laces and silks.
    • Flowers, leaves, feathers, or antlers make pretty headpieces.
    • Natural stones, bones, taxidermy and silver jewelry is best.
    • Leather accessories (belts, pouches, cuffs, corsets…)
    • Anything fur related could work.
    • Knitted items are good, and handmade is best.
    • Layering is the key,
    • Medieval, Victorian, Folklore and 1920’s inspirations.
    • Ethnic clothes.
    • Hats are big, quirky and always decorated.
    • Floral patterns and animal prints.
    • Might have some Lolita or Steampunk inspiration
    • Helena Bonham Carter is a great style icon.
    • Dramatic silent movie makeup, tribal paints or very natural looks works fine.
    • Legwear is fun to experiment with. Wearing stripey socks can be used to create a witchy look.
    • Can look flirtatious and seductive at times. Corsets are welcome for this look.
    • Crushed velvet.
    • Prefers dresses and skirts, the longer the better.
    • Shawls, ponchos, and hoods.
    • Laced up boots, pointy shoes, victorian heels, and clogs.
    • Braided hair, messy curls, or dreads are good hairstyles.
  • Lifestyle:
    • Likes anything spooky or creepy.
    • Collects oddities.
    • Might be attracted by witchcraft and esoterism.
    • Might tend to have a natural lifestyle.
    • Believes in Fairies, and Spirits.
    • Crafty girl.
    • Has a familiar/pet, and most likely a cat or rats.
    • A rather solitary girl, kind of an introvert.
    • Might prefer Dark Music scenes, from traditional goth, ambient to Black Metal.
    • Likes Tribal Fusion Dancing.
    • Strangeness over prettiness.
    • Loves books. Old bookstores are a favorite place.
    • Somewhat rebellious, strong-willed and free-spirited, but still ladylike.
    • Romantic and melancholic.
    • Might have little quirks, or superstitions.
    • Loves tea.
    • Folklore, fairytales, legends, and myths from the North are favorites but might like Oriental cultures as well.
    • Loves antiques.
    • Thrifting is a favorite activity.
    • Always thinks "warm and cozy."
    • Might be a bit messy, but always with style.
    • Might drink alcohol on occasions. Mead and spicy wines drunk in a horn, or strong alcohol in a pretty flask.
    • Collects bottles and other glasses.
    • Likes to take walks in the forest, after the rain, at dusk, or event at night.
    • Preraphaelites, Arthur Rackham, William Bouguereau or Brian Froud are favorite artists.
    • Sort of like Mori Kei x Antique Kei x Gothic x Naturalist Kei x Curio…
This list is useful in understanding the basis for the style, but it is by no means official or even widely accepted by the mori community. It is important to note that not even the original creators of dark mori would follow this list religiously, and would pick and choose from these items. Additionally, most of these points came to describe Strega more than dark mori as time went on, leading them to become less relevant to the style.

Have you heard of dark mori? Do you like it or wear it? I find the style quite charming, and I have worn it occasionally. But it is its unique history really interests me. It is interesting to see how much the style has grown and changed over time, and how it has become such a core part of the fashion community!

Until next time my deers!

For more information on mori substyles, check out the posts below:

Friday, August 9, 2019

Almost Mori: What is ナチュラルコーデ (Japanese natural fashion)?

Hello my deers! We have finally made it to the last post in this series. Although I do have a few more mini-series planned to talk about a few more styles related to mori, this is the last "almost-mori" fashion I want to discuss. So, today we will be taking a look at Japanese natural fashion. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the style here as natural style, since it is a bit quicker to type.

Natural style is a new, more modern trend in Japan. In some ways, this is the evolution of the mori trend in Japan, and what happens when a more extreme fashion style becomes mainstream. Although it is not directly tied to mori, it is similar enough that I thought it warranted its own post.


The name ナチュラルコーデ (also known as ナチュラルファッション) directly translates to mean "natural code" or "coode" in English. Coode, for those of you who don't know, is a term that means "outfit." It is a newer version of the word coord (or コード),  short for coordinate, that old-school j-fashion communities used to use. The name stands directly for what the style is, a natural fashion, and is the term used to tag outfits in this style on Instagram and other social media.

Although this name can be referred to as a specific style, it is not a "style" in the sense of those that have come out of Harajuku, but rather more of a trend. It follows new ideas and changes with what is popular at the time, and it does not have a community or lifestyle attached to it, unlike other Harajuku styles, or "kei" styles. Although some may argue that mori might not have all of those criteria all of the time, the fact that such things are often attached to the style is what sets it apart from a general trend, especially that it has a community.

UPDATE 1/20/2020: According to a reader, the term Natural Kei in Japanese (or ナチュラル系) Is also sometimes used to describe the style. This is not to be confused with the known English name for PINK HOUSE fashion, Natural Kei, and is its own separate term not associated with the brands or style in any way.


The rise of fashions such as natural style are generally tied to what I like to call the "trends movement" that is being experienced across Japan in the fashion world. This describes a general move from Harajuku fashions with lifestyles and communities, to the following of common trends. Of course, trends following has always been a phenomenon in Japan and around the world, but this is a more extreme move, with more and more fashion styles dying out in Japan, and no new fashion styles emerging from Harajuku. There are a few reasons for this, such as the overcrowding of tourists in Harajuku, but it seems that for most there is simply a decline in the popularity of more extreme fashion styles. In some ways, we may be witnessing an end of an era in Japanese fashion.

To understand the basis of natural style, it is important to briefly note the current fashion trends that are popular in Japan at the moment that help fuel the style. Natural styled trends are currently seeing another rise in popularity in Japan, although it is by no means the first time natural styles have been popular. Past variations of natural trends were popular in the 70s and 80s with more prairie styled trends, as well as in the early 2010s at mori kei's conception. However, they have recently seen a new comeback after a period of falling out of style. Currently, things such as floral patterns, linen and natural fibers, loose-fitting clothing, and natural colors are all popular, many of which are features commonly seen in mori kei as well. For more on current trends, I would recommend watching this video on trends in Japan in 2019 by Annika Victoria. Additionally, a fellow mori girl alerted me to the magazine liniere and their associated brand kuraline that are also popular in spreading the current natural fashion trends.


As natural style is not a true style, it has no real set rules, rather following common trends that fit into the broad category of "natural fashion." But, because it follows trends, most outfits have a lot of things in common that do tie it together as a recognizable style.

For ways in which it is similar to mori, things such as the use of natural fabrics, a natural color palette, some layering, loose clothing, and an a-line shape stand out. In fact, some coordinates often closely resemble mori coordinates, so that many who live in Japan and wear natural style use both tags to describe the style because of its similarities.


However, although natural style does have some similarities to mori, it has just as many differences that separate it from mori kei as a style. For instance, natural style focuses intently on fabrics above everything else. For example, to qualify as the style, the outfit has to be composed of natural fabrics. Linen is especially popular in this regard. This is different from mori where natural fabrics are certainly encouraged and praised, but not enforced. Additionally, the style is much more simplistic with a lot less layering, almost to a point of being a minimalist sort of style, as well as featuring more muted tones. I like to think of the style as a diluted version of mori. It shares the base similarities but has dulled it down to a more acceptable and mainstream style.


A fellow mori girl from the mori discord server, Willow, noted that natural style often resembles outfits from a Studio Ghibli movie. Although there is no way to say for sure, it could certainly be that the style is partially inspired by the popular films.

Willow described the fashion as "Ghibli heroine inspired," which I think is very accurate. Natural style certainly echoes the fashion of ghibli characters with the focus on loose clothing, natural colors and fabrics, and a folk-like silhouette.

Another fellow mori girl Britni also mentioned to me that the style also fits well with the popularity of the Moomin franchise in Japan. Certainly, the style does have a similar aesthetic to the show.


For more information on those who wear the style, I was recommended by Britni the accounts yoshiyoshi1009 and __sa.ki_ on instagram. Both accounts are lovely, and I would highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in the style.


As natural style is not truly a "style," as already established, it has no aesthetic attached to the fashion. However, as a general trend, those who post pictures of themselves wearing this style seem to favor a more nature conscious lifestyle and enjoy some "mori-like" things, such as slower living or nature-based hobbies. However, this is not a requirement for the style, nor is it even directly attached.


Natural style is technically not connected to mori at all. However, I thought that due to the many aspects of mori that can be seen in the fashion, it is worth mentioning as a sort of modern successor to mori. It is not considered a sister style, or even under the mori umbrella, but it is similar enough to warrant some connection to the style in my opinion.

Have you heard of Japanese natural fashion? Would you ever consider wearing the style? Do you also think it is somewhat similar to mori, or do you think it shouldn't be used in connection to the style? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and I hope you enjoyed this post!

Stay tuned for my next series of posts where I will be discussing official mori substyles!

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