Sunday, September 19, 2021

Bibliotheca September Prompt: Fall

 September's Bibliotheca writing prompt is, appropriately, Fall. There are so many ways to interpret this prompt, but I'm choosing to approach it this way: I want to share with you what made me "fall" in love with mori fashion.

There are so many things that made me first fall in love with mori kei, some of them I've talked about online before, others I haven't, but today I want to point out some of the people and aspects of the fashion that really drew me in and have kept me hooked all these years.

The Fashion

First, let's start off with aspects of the fashion that initially drew me in. There are many, but I've narrowed it down to three.


1) The soft femininity: Mori kei, especially in its original form that I first discovered, has a soft type of femininity that really spoke to me and my interests. As far as fashion goes, I feel like mori reminds me of the fashion embodiment of a warm hug from your mom. Does anyone else feel the same? That kind of feeling really drew me in. It is the kind of image I have always wanted to portray. I also just love all the small feminine details that mori often has. It's so cute and cozy!


2) The laid-back lifestyle and focus on the little things: Mori has always had a deep connection to slow living. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I enjoy a lot of "slow living" ideas. (It probably stems from my mental health struggles and wanting to wrap myself up in cozy and relaxed things, but that's neither here nor there.) Even in Choco's original list, mori is described as a lifestyle where small things are valued, like a warm cup of tea, a stroll through the woods, or artistic pursuits. That kind of lifestyle really speaks to me and my interests.


3) The connection to nature: As someone who grew up camping and hiking from a very young age with my family, nature, and being eco-conscious, are incredibly important to me. So finding a fashion style that embodied that, and was deeply connected to nature, was very important to me and is one of the reasons that I have continued to feel connected to mori kei throughout the years. Not all mori people are as crazy about the outdoors as I am, but you can't deny the two concepts are intricately intertwined. 

The People

Although I initially fell in love with mori for its fashion, it's the people and the community that have really kept me invested throughout the years. There are so many people I could mention, but here are a few that have really impacted me personally.

Georgia


I've talked about Georgia from SunnyMorningDiary many times on this blog, but she still remains one of my all-time biggest influences. She was one of the most active mori girls in the international community when I first discovered mori. Her outfit photos and chronicles of her adventures around London wearing mori inspired me to try wearing mori for myself. Although she is no longer around, her mori content left a big impression on me and I still find aspects of her aesthetic seeping into my own to this day.

Shani Deer

Left to Right: Georgia, Shani, and Kimeguredays

Shani was another very active mori girl when I joined the community, but unlike her friend Georgia who interacted less with other people, Shani was pretty active on the livejournal and often posted and commented there. Although we didn't know each other personally, her sweet personality and adorable style were also a huge inspiration to me. She's also no longer in the community, but her impact has left a legacy on me and others.

Kellie


Kellie is a very sweet soul whom I used to interact with often in the community. She was super active and ran an amazing blog. She also encouraged mori people to communicate more, be it in her real life mori meet-ups with her local community, to her active conversations with everyone online. I adored seeing her around the community, and was sad when she left. But her blog, her atmosphere, and her impact still remain impactful on me to this day.

Annie


Another sweet individual that I would've consider a friend, Anie was another active face in the mori community. She was kind, outgoing, and seemed to always be creating and sharing content. I always admired her consistent online presence. When she left the fashion community I was sad to see her go, and I often wish that her content had remained active as it served as a huge inspiration for me back in the day.

Resources

Maybe it's strange to include resources on this list, but I have a few resources that really impacted me and inspired my love for mori fashion, so I want to share them with you all as well!

Ohyeahmorigirl


The tumblr account Ohyeahmorigirl was a treasure trove of information that was immensily helpful for me as a new mori girl all those years ago. I often found myself browsing their hundreds of reblogged images, dozens of answered questions, and links to various resources. I even followed one of the mods (Manon, now an active member of the Kawaii Riot) for many years after the blog closed and she left the community. I still miss this resource. It was a perfect one-stop shop for all things mori related, and I miss being able to link fellow mori folk to this easy resource. 

Mori Girl Livejournal

No list would be complete without the original livejournal community. The community there was so genuine and kind. I posted my first ever outfit photo there, shared my first interactions with other mori friends there, and found my first resources there. The community was so kind and cozy, and I felt right at home. I knew then that I loved this community and wanted to stay in it for as long as I could.

This list cannot cover everything and everyone that has inspired me. There are so many amazing individuals who have gone in and out of the community over the years that it would take days and days to share all of them. But these are some of my biggest and fondest reasons and memories that I fell in love with mori. How about you? What made you fall in love with mori kei? I'd love to hear your stories and inspirations below!



Thursday, September 16, 2021

Creating your Mori Kei Wardrobe: J-Fashion 101 Panel

Hello Everyone! I recently participated in a panel on Mori Kei with Bay Area Kei's J-Fashion University.

If you missed the panel, or simply want access to my links and resources, you can find everything here. Thank you to everyone who joined in! I had a great time and I hope you did too!

Presentation Slides

Links Document

Extra links I didn't mention but that might be useful for you!




Friday, August 13, 2021

The OG Mori Brands


Let's set the scene. It's the early 2010s, and you're browsing on the internet. You come across this cute new J-fashion, called mori girl. Excited, you start to dive into the new street snaps and magazines that have recently been shared, and you decide you want to buy your own mori clothing. So you visit the websites of the many prominent mori brands to snag your first piece.

For those of you who discovere mori in its early days, this probably brought back a wave of nostalgia for you. But for new mori folk, such a scenario would seem impossible. I can't count the number of times people have asked me where to buy mori clothing pieces, and I've had to sadly tell them I just don't know. Now that mori's heyday has passed, most mori brands have either shut down or moved on to new styles. But, I can remember a day when mori was a part of pop culture, and brands were fairly easy to find.

Although most of these brands are gone, their impact on shaping the fashion style is very important. So, today, I want to take a walk down memory lane with you and introduce you to some of the OG mori brands.

Wonder Rocket

No list of mori brands would be complete without the most recognizable and largest mori brand ever, Wonder Rocket.

Opened in 2007, during its run Wonder Rocket was well-loved by mori folk in Japan and abroad. Located in Harajuku, it was the most popular in-person mori shop. Its bunny-head mannequins were incredibly iconic and easily recognizable. Similar to Lolita shops, shop staff actually wore mori fashion, and their outfits were often shared online and circulated throughout the community as style inspiration.

Sadly, the shop has long since closed its doors and very little remains of the brand. However, the staff's official blog is still active as of 2021 and can be browsed. 

Wonder Rocket Store Front in Harajuku

As for their style and its impact, Wonder Rocket sold primarily heavily layered clothing during the height of its mori days. It focused a lot on neutral colors and pastels, as well as leaning heavily into floral patterns. The brand also used a lot of lace. In part, this style helped to create the seemingly "classic" mori look we think of today, leaning away from the more simplistic styles of magazines.



Wonder Rocket closed its doors in 2017, marking mori's official exit from Harajuku street fashion. But its impact on the fashion is still major, even to this day.

Additional Reading: 

Syrup

Another popular brand name in the early mori community was Syrup, also known as Felissimo. The brand is still active to this day, although the mori influence on their clothing has long since disappeared.

During mori's height in Japan, Syrup capitalized on the trend by producing a number of catalogues and clothing lines that catered towards natural fashion. Although their style was plainer and not strictly mori, the aesthetic of their clothing lines became wildly popular with mori folk, and many of their pieces became staples for the community. 

One of the most famous pieces from Syrup is their deer cardigan; a brown cardigan with fawn spots. The cardigan became a wishlist item for many, and was often discussed on the livejournal and tumblr. I myself used to dream of buying this illusive cardigan before the brand faded from the mori conciousness. 






Additional Reading:
Another very popular brand that catered to mori style was SM2. To this day, SM2 is a thriving brand in Japan, although these days their style is much more catered to Natural Kei. I've even seen the store in some nearby malls. However, back in the early 2010s, the brand often directly catered their releases to mori fashion. Some of their photos were featured in magazines, as well as becoming wildly shared as outfit inspiration across the internet. It's likely you've seen some of these images before without realizing they were of SM2.




Their modern outfits, although less mori centric, are still very inspiring. I highly recommend checking them out, and maybe even purchasing from them if you like what you see. 

SM2 Recent Storefront



Additional Reading:

Earth Music & Ecology

Although this brand never directly catered to mori kei, Earth music & Ecology deserves an honorable mention here. The brand has always focused on fairly natural themes, making it fit in well with the mori aesthetic. The brand is still active, although these days their style is much more casual and toned down.

The brand was often shared amongst the community as a place to buy some basic items for mori kei, and the name gained a lot of popularity amongst mori folk. They did produce some pretty easily mori-able pieces, and some nice inspirational images of the style do still exist, but in general, the brand has faded out of the mori scene entirely. 





Additional Reading:

cawaii

When mori started to grow in popularity, a number of online-focused brands began to pop up creating mori kei clothing. One of the most prominent of these is the brand cawaii. The brand is still active today, but no longer makes mori clothing at all. (And no, I do not know why it is spelled lowercase and with a "c" instead of a "k". Who knows.)

The brand cawaii mainly focused on the Wonder Rocket-esque style of mori kei, featuring over-the-top layers and a whole lot of lace. It was a very romantic and soft style, and the brand's pieces are still popular to purchase online. In fact, many aliexpress mori clothing pieces are dupes of old cawaii pieces.



Favorite 

Another popular online-focused brand is Favorite. This brand is extremely similar to cawaii, and also focused heavily on layered and lace-filled outfits. The brand is known for its model poses that usually involve someone sitting in a chair, and for its very romantic and over-the-top feel. 

Like cawaii, Favorite is still active, but now sells mainly cosplay pieces and other mainstream J-fashion pieces. Also similar to cawaii, many aliexpress mori clothing pieces are dupes of old Favorite pieces.

Dearli

The last brand to mention is actually not from Japan at all, but is instead a taobao brand from China, known as Dearli. Although the brand is not from Japan, it became wildly popular within the community, especially the international community, mainly for its iconic model and beautiful photoshoots. The brand's pieces were highly detailed and beautiful.

These days the brand is still active, still with the same model, but now focuses on mainstream girly J-fashion pieces. However, their images of mori fashion are still widely circulated on the internet.





Honorable Mentions

Before we close, let's look at a few honorable mentions. One is the brand Blue Hat, which is often mentioned in outfit run-downs across the internet. However, although I have heard the name many times, I can't actually find any information on the brand itself or any reliable photos of their pieces. I assume they no longer exist as a brand, but I can't say anything for sure.

A Blue Hat piece found listed on Mercari

Another brand that is often mentioned is Franche Lippee. However, this brand is not actually mori focused and has always been more vintage. But many of the brand's pieces were often incorporated by mori folk into outfits. The brand was also featured in Mori Girl Papier, and included a tote bag from the brand with its release. One of their dresses also was widely circulated amongst the mori community. (You can see this link and this link to learn more about the brand's style.)


So that's all from me! Have you heard of any of these classic mori brands before? If not, I hope you could find some inspiration for your own style from these old favorites of the community. Also, let me know if there are any classic brands that I forgot to mention! Until next time, my deers!