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!


Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Almost Sister Fashions

This is going to be a relatively short post, but recently, as I was browsing some older mori resources, I came across a few unrealized fashion styles. For nostalgia's sake, I thought it might be fun to talk about these styles, and what they might look like! Who knows, maybe one of you will end up making these substyles a real thing?

Desert Girl

One mori person suggested creating a version of mori that reflects the desert. The idea would include shades of brown and cream, to reflect the desert sands, as well as a heavier focus on light layers. It would also probably include less thick fabrics, and lighter cuts more fit for the heat.

When I imagine this style, I picture Rey from Star Wars for some reason, even though I've never seen the movies. What do you think a desert girl would look like?

Numa Girl

Numa girl, whose name comes from the Japanese word 沼 (ぬま) meaning "marsh," is a proposed variation of dark mori. Discussions around it proposed a version of the style focused on dark greens, blacks, and greys. The style would also include more distressed clothing, maybe even with purposeful rips and tears. Basically, it would look like a swamp witch, climbing out of the swamp.

Although this style was actually quite popular in discussions for a few years, outfits for the idea were never created.

Dryad Girls

This idea was much less fleshed out than desert or numa. In short, the idea was to include more fae elements into regular mori fashion, to invoke the feeling of dryads in mythology. However, no clear ideas on what this style might look like were ever given, so it is unclear what it might have looked like should it have existed.

What types of mori variations would you like to see? Could you ever see yourself wearing any of these ideas? Let me know your thoughts below. Until next time my deers!