Forest Girls: A Trend In Japanese Fashion Clothing
Japanese street fashion is often associated with extreme looks, such as punk styles or the sweet Victorian, doll-like fashion known as Lolita (which has little to do with the Western connotation of the name).
But another fashion trend, perhaps less well known in the West, probably because it is less crazy and is more subdued, is the trend known as Mori Girls (Forest Girls). Also, another style to take note of is known as Yuru-Nachu (Relaxed Natural), because the Mori Girls look and Yuru-Nachu look have elements that are similar, such as a fairly neutral, earthy color palette and the use of natural materials.
Although I have just only recently become aware of these fashion trends, and definitely not an expert, you might say I became a fan of this sort of style long before I was even aware them, as I naturally gravitated towards similar colors and aesthetics on my own. As I have only fairly recently become aware of these trends I do not know much and probably will have some things wrong, but as I am falling in love with the looks I will do my best to share what I know about them.
Mori-Girl Note Magazine/Book
Anne of Green Gables if She Lived in a Forest
Probably the most equivalent look to the Yuru-Nachu look in the U.S. is the "granola" look, as both draw on nature and natural materials. And some of the Mori Girls look has aspects of this. But the Mori Girls look is more soft and romantic in style, and also tends to draw a little more inspiration from an enchanted, fairy tale forest kind of feel. These styles may also include florals that is not often associated with the granola look.
Think of a girl like Anne of Green Gables mixed with a girl from a child's fairytale book such as Red Riding Hood, who lives in the woods and you'll capture part of the essence of the Mori Girls style.
The clothes for Mori Girls and Yuru-Nachu are usually loose fitting and comfortable (unfortunately sometimes leaning too much towards the frumpy side) and are in light, natural, earthy shades. And incorporates layering, another trend common in many Japanese fashions.
A hybrid look that can be seen is the Mori Gyaru (Gal) look, which could be said to be a more trendy, fashion-conscious, flirty, girly take on the Mori Girl look.
Lace and/or Crochet
Creating the Mori Girls Look
Two brands of clothing that typify this style include Wonder Rocket (a name that does not conjure up images of the type of clothes they offer) and SM2.
Westerners may have a hard time finding places to actually buy some of the brands that are in the mori girl or yuru-nachu style. (Even if you are able to read the Japanese websites you may find that they won't ship to your country, or that it would be cost prohibitive ,or you might find that the clothes just aren't likely to fit you as many Asian clothes run smaller than those in the west.) But you can draw upon these looks that you see mentioned in some of the blogs, websites, and online stores dedicated to these styles, to find similar looks. In fact, thrift store shopping is very much in line with these two Japanese styles. So keep your eye out for clothes in the color stories of these styles and the sweetness and romantic part of the story as well. Another benefit of shopping for similar clothing in the West is that you are more likely to get better fitting (i.e. not overly loose and frumpy).
Probably the best place to shop for clothes in the Mori Girls style is from secondhand shops and thrift stores. Many Japanese Mori Girls shop in thrift stores themselves. But many stores will have clothing pieces and accessories that fit in with the Mori Girls look. Lace, crochet, natural colors, earth tones, dusty pastels, vintage items, and almost anything with a quaint, old fashioned appeal are some things to look out for. Handmade items are a part of the Mori lifestyle as well, so shopping online at etsy.com is a good place to shop. The online store freepeople.com also has clothing that is inline with the Mori Girls aesthetic. But be sure to check out Amazon.com. Also I really love the website Yesstyle, which sales clothes from Asia (but note, since the clothes are made for Asian women the sized tend to run on the small to very small size, be sure to read the actual measurements). Ebay can turn up some good finds too. Look for Mori Girl and vintage clothes, such as the vintage brand called Gunne Sax.
The Mori Girls fashion did not start on the streets of Japan, unlike many other Japanese fashion and clothing. It apparently started in cyberspace, as like minded girls began to gather in an online community of girls with similar interests and tastes. Likewise, Westerners who are interested in this style are gathering in communities on places such as LiveJournal.com and blog with posts of pictures on sites like tumblr.com. Pictures of those who dress in the Mori Girl and Yuru-Nachu style are becoming more common on Japanese Street fashion websites such as tokyofashion.com. So those interested in learning more about this style and seeking inspiration for their own wardrobe can fairly easily find out more.
Learning More About Mori Girls
One of the best sources for the mori girl look is online. There are online communities such as this one for Mori Girls at Live Journal and blogs like morigirl.blogspot.com and mini-blog posts of pictures on tumblr morigirls.tumblr.com. Do a search on your favorite search engine for "mori girls" and you will find lots more.
Another place to learn more is from books and magazines. These can be hard to find in some countries such as the United States. But if you search for online stores selling products from Japan you can sometimes find them there. Or you can often find them for sale on eBay too.