Mori Girl is a fairly new style, compared to other longstanding Japanese fashions such as Lolita. However, this style has gained a firm place within the Japanese fashion community as a well-recognized style.

This style is considered a natural fashion, being centered around natural themes and a love of the forest. Mori has a cheerful, calm and simple aesthetic.

Mori may or may not be considered an inactive style, depending on what criteria is assigned to an "inactive style". In Japan, it is almost non-existent, with most brands now being shut down, and it no longer has a presence in street fashion. However, the style still holds a considerable following abroad. [1]

Name[edit | edit source]

The name "mori girl" or "森ガール" translates roughly to "forest girl". "森" (mori) meaning forest, and "ガール" (girl) meaning girl. [2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

In 2006, a community called "Mori Girl" was created on the Japanese social network mixi. The name was chosen by its admin, Choco, after a friend commented on one of her outfits saying, "You look like you are from the forest."

The “Mori Girl” community reached 35,000 people in 2009, and it caused a big boom that lead to the creation of multiple mori magazines and brands. However, magazines and brands declined with the end of its popularity.

As of 2019, the mixi post about the origin of mori has been deleted, along with the original group, and the brand that has been worn at the highest of its popularity, "Wonder Rocket," also closed its Harajuku store in 2017.

The heyday of the fashion might have passed, but since there are still is a certain number of enthusiasts, the genre of mori itself has not disappeared. There are still brands catering to mori even though the design has changed to suit the present. [2][4]

Style Basics[edit | edit source]

Clothing[edit | edit source]

Mori girl, self-described as 'forest girls', is a style reminiscent of a forest lifestyle - loose, light and airy clothing, layered with warm, bulky sweaters and scarves and tough boots for navigating the wilderness. Natural materials like cotton, linen, leather and wool reign supreme, although other materials are also sometimes utilized. [2][5][6][7][8]

The style contains mostly neutral shades, such as offwhite, beiges and browns. Earth tones are a mori girl's best friend. Outfits usually use beige as a base, but brown or tan based coords are also popular. Earthy greens, rose pink, and rich browns are the most common accent colors, but other colors reminiscent of other things found in nature, such as floral colors, or blues, can also be used. Regardless of what color scheme is chosen, it is important for the colors to look natural - the colors are meant to reflect the forest itself. Therefore, bright colors such as neons, and loud patterns like animal prints or bold stripes and other similar patterns, are discouraged. However, patterns can be used in mori kei, such as natural floral patterns, patchwork, and polka dots.

Mori is an interesting balance of ruggedness and delicacy: worn leather mixed with finely crocheted lace. Every outfit lands somewhere different along the spectrum, so how far it tips from one side to the other all depends on the wearer's own preferences for their wardrobe.

Hair and Makeup[edit | edit source]

Hairstyles in mori girl are typically long, loose and flowing, but can also be shorter and vary widely. Braids are very common, again, typically loose and a bit messy looking. Bobs are fairly common as well. Short pixie cuts are quite popular for mori girls outside of Japan, to hint at a sort of forest faerie look, and also saw a small surge in popularity in Japan for a time. If there's any rule about hairstyles in mori, it's to keep it carefree and natural, and if it ends up a little messy, all the better.

Obviously, natural hair colors are the most common in a style based around nature, but dyed hair colors can be seen too. Softer synthetic colors are best, such as light pink, or natural colors, such as forest green. 

If there's a Japanese style made for barefaced girls, mori girl is it. A classic mori look includes very little makeup: a little blush on the cheeks, maybe a light gloss on the lips, and foundation are staples. Although more over-the-top makeup looks can be acceptable, generally the lighter look is best.

Accessories[edit | edit source]

The most common accessory in mori girl would by far be scarves; big, chunky, knitted scarves wrapped all the way around the neck are an archetype if there ever would be one. Other popular accessories are flowers in your hair, golden, rustic jewelry with nature themes, fingerless gloves, straw baskets, straw hats, and anything with lace.

Brown hiking boots are the most common footwear in mori girl. However, there are many other types, which vary widely. If there is any rule at all in mori girl footwear it is this: function over fashion. Mori girl is a very widely varying style, but high stiletto heels may be one of the few things that it doesn't include.

The Name Change: Mori Kei (森系)[edit | edit source]

Mori Girl made the move to the more inclusive name "mori kei" sometime around 2012. Although it is still also known and recognized as mori girl, mori kei was deemed a more accepted term for those who did not identify as "girl" who wear and enjoy the style. This move was preceded by a growth in the mori boy subculture, and the change has since seen many non-binary and other gender identities join the style. [2]

Brands & Shops[edit | edit source]

Mori is a style that is not reliant on brands and was mostly conceived outside of brand influence. However, some brands were influential in shaping the style after it took off.

Most popular mori brands have since been shut down with the decline in popularity of the style, however, there are a some still active, and many brands that still have an archived online presence.

Here is a list of past and present brands that were recommended at one time or another by mori magazines and by the Japanese and international community. Some of these brands were mori specific brands, while others are popular brands preferred by those who wore the style.

(For more brand information, please see gallery below).

Substyles[edit | edit source]

Sister Styles[edit | edit source]

Mori is considered to have several sister styles that are closely connected to the fashion. Some are considered substyles as well as sister styles, while others are their own more established fashions.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

  1. Information from various mori girls, and the still-active presence of mori girls on Facebook (International Mori Fashion and Lifestyle group) and other social media like Instagram, Tumblr, and discord.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "An Introduction to Mori Kei." I don't know much, but I'm learning. September 27, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://idontknowmuchbutimlearning.blogspot.com/2017/09/an-introduction-to-mori-kei.html
  3. "What Is a Mori Girl?" mori cupcake. (n.d.) Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://moricupcake.blogspot.com/p/what-is-mori-girl.html
  4. Asahi Sato. "What is Mori Girl? (translated title)." MyNavi. October 15, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://woman.mynavi.jp/article/190828-8/
  5. "Mori Girl - How to start?" Blushing Rabbit. 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://blushingrabbit.blogspot.com/2015/08/mori-girl-how-to-start.html
  6. "Be One With The Forest: Mori Girl." Naomi N Doll. March 21, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://www.naomindoll.com/2015/03/be-one-with-the-forest-mori-girl/
  7. "So What Exactly is Mori Kei?" Deer-Lightful Forest. November 29, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://deerlightfulforest.blogspot.com/2014/11/so-what-exactly-is-mori-kei.html
  8. "what is mori girl?" Moss Marchen. (n.d.) Retrieved August 26, 2020 from https://web.archive.org/web/20200121091918/https://mossmarchen.blogspot.com/p/morigirl-fashion.html

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