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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mori Girl fashion, an introduction to the lastest street fashion who knew how to make a buzz

Written by Valerie Fujita
Image sources: Spoon, Mori Girl Papier

Is this just a trend or a real phenomenon? Tokyo has seen a new and apparently powerful fashion appeared, two years ago if we go back to its origins, but only really appearing since last spring and definitely acquired this last autumn. And if Mori Girl fasfhion appeared about 3 years and a half ago and that Fur Fur (brand based on the Mori Girls concept) exists for 3 years and made an impression in the fall 2008 on podiums, the Mori Girl style is now better recognized and has its voice (or even voices).

To make it simple, Mori Girl (Forest girl) fashion describes a “girl who looks like living in the Forest”. The origin of the name « Mori Girl » that became some kind of label was launched by Choco, the moderator of the Mixi (Japanese social network, as Myspace, Facebook…) Mori Girl group (that counted this September about 35 000 members) after she has been said by one of her friend « you look like a girl in the forest”.If it appears that Mori Girls are noticeable in Harajuku, their shopping customs are mostly in shops selling antiques and second hand clothes, in the neighborhoods of Kouenji, Shimokitazawa or Daikanyama, as they cultivate a special taste for antiques.

Roughly, the silhouette of a Mori Girl could be described by wearing a loose pleated “one-piece”, tights or leggings, low-heeled round toes shoes. Their special characteristic of accumulating layers of clothes (one-piece, cardigan, scarf, turtle neck…) to drape the body is very common, and has been made to hide the body lines. It might be some kind of answer to the too sexy way to dress of Shibuya Kei (Shibuya belonging group). They prefer natural colors and earth colors like beige, white, dark green, dark blue, dark red. They prefer cotton and natural materials, and even if they wear chemical fibers, they try to limit this custom. It seems that wearing cotton and natural fibers helps to acquire the natural loose and soft silhouette, and to keep a lively and fresh look. They like fur, fluffy hats, knitwears, small gold things rather than silver, antique watches, frills, floral retro patterns and animal motifs, leather bags, basic turtleneck, puff-sleeves, blouses, antique keys, rosarios… Their make-up, hair and nails also must look natural: they are pale skin complexion, don’t use a heavy make-up, only cheeks are two big pink round shapes, they have short nails, the hair is usually loose, or loosed permed hair with a straight fringe.

Even if in some way, we could say that they borrow codes from natural kei (brands like Bulle de Savon) for natural materials, yurukaji kei (Gomme) for draped style or even lolita kei (Jane Marple) for frills and round toes shoes, they shouldn’t be taken for belonging to any of these groups. Rumors say that to be called a Mori Girl, one’s should respect at least 60 rules.

The style started to appear in magazines very recently. Spoon edited a first Mori Girls dedicated magazine in March 2009, “Mori Girl A to Z” and the first volume of the Mori Girls magazine, Mori Girl Papier went out at the end of November. Fudge magazine also welcomes the movement by offering each month more fashion reports about Mori Girls. Spoon magazine chose the actress Yu Aoi as the perfect incarnation of the Mori Girl ; as Mori Girl magazine chose to interview the singer Meg (that appeared in Japan Expo 2009 edition for a show with Laforet Harajuku).

We can say, after we had an overview, that this fashion is becoming a phenomenon. As it was pretty obscure before, nothing in English has been posted for more than 6 months. Now that magazines like Fudge, Spoon and Mori Girl Papier are talking about the movement we will have a better understanding of that fashion. Mori Girl is not a simple trend anymore. And as it plays on the natural grounds, it plays also on the analog ones. The Mori Girl fashion could also be interesting on a social point of view, because it’s not only about style but also about acts and customs. We can also notice a special dedicated blog (in Japanese) 森ガール and a list of books and magazines to be found on Amazon Japan.

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