Friday, October 30, 2009

Mori girls like cameras

 It has been well documented that mori girls are avid photographers. The original Mixi community of mori girls notes their propensity for wandering around and exploring, camera in hand. Mori girls are partial to solitary adventures and introspective journeys. In addition, inside the heart of many a mori girl is the desire for self-expression, which manifests in small ways like their individualistic fashion and lifestyle choices. Combine these two factors and you'll see why photographer is dear to the heart of many mori girls who want to document their adventures in a creative and inspiring way.

The beauty of photography is that it's accessible to almost everyone. There's no need to get lost in technical details if you're not into that sort of thing. A simple point-and-shoot will suffice for many (and, indeed, a good photographer can make more amazing with the simplest of cameras than someone else with tons of gear). Other mori girls may prefer digital SLRs because they let them play around with their pictures even more. Still others favour toy cameras like the Holga, Diana or Lomo. But it is the vintage camera that secretly pulls at the heartstrings of many mori girls. Selecting their film with care, lovingly loading the camera, anticipating every shot and then feeling excited while waiting for the film to be developed adds to the experience. Analogue SLRs, rangefinders or medium format cameras, there's one for every mori girl.

Whichever camera you prefer, remember that it's not that camera that matters but who's behind it. In my experience, the most basic digital point-and-shoot cameras can take pictures you never knew were possible, and never will until you get to know your camera intimately. Take sincere pictures and people will be able to see something of you in them.

I myself have a Konica C35, and my dad has vintage SLRs like the Olympus OM1 which I get all excited over. I like using film because it makes me ponder my shots more carefully, and I enjoy selecting films and seeing the various effects each has. But seriously, some of my favourite pictures were taken with my trusty Canon Digital Ixus iZoom, a tiny point-and-shoot that I bought with my first ever real paycheck (from a temporary job) 3 years ago. It's breaking down now but I hope I can keep it alive for as long as possible! I've taken so many 'bad' pictures over the years, but I have enjoyed the process, learnt new things and preserved great memories.

By the way, check out Miki's photographs. I chanced upon this on the web sometime ago and have since fallen in love with the way she sees the world.

Image source: Rocamiki

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Featured Brand: Marimekko

Marimekko is a textile company from Finland that designs lovely fabrics, as well as clothing and accessories made from their fabrics. It has been mentioned as a favourite of mori girls, who are inspired by Northern European design and style. Many mori girls are also fascinated by fabrics, since many enjoy making clothes or simply appreciating nice textures.

Marimekko clothing tends to be cut in relaxed styles to better showcase the brightly coloured prints and fabrics. I just love the bright pops of colour!

The striped leggings are so adorable with the loose top, and I love the way the yellow and pink go unexpectedly well together in the second picture.

Lovely silk dresses with the coloured tights that mori girls love so much. I especially love the cutting of the first dress. It's casual, comfortable and cute.

Bordeaux red, forest green--all rich fall shades that mori girls love.

The Mika Piirainen collection from Marimekko is really adorable and reminds me of Syrup, with its colourful turtlenecks, printed fabrics and simple, loose silhouettes.

It's no secret that mori girls love to wear turtlenecks in winter, and they go perfectly with these dresses!

Another one of those graphic print tshirts that many of mori girls' favourite brands have been making lately. The baggy silhouette of the second outfit is very typical of mori girls.

By the way, don't you think the model in these pictures is lovely? That hair!

I recall that Marimekko collaborated with H&M a few years back, but I didn't get to see it as there's no H&M where I've been living the past few years. Maybe I'll make it to Finland one day!

Image source: Marimekko

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Featured Brand: Furfur

Furfur is a brand that has mentioned by the original mori girls Mixi community. Furfur doesn't have as organic or earthy a feel as, say, SM2 does. It is more girly and elaborate in its styling and copious use of lace and ruffles.

This dress and top remind me more of Lolita fashion than mori girl per se. However, if you look at pictures of girls in Japan who may be classified as mori girls, you'll see that many of them do incorporate ultra-feminine items into their outfits, dressing them down with baggy layers.

The hooded parka on the left is really quite forest-like with its trimmings. The top on the right is rather childlike and quite typically mori girl in style.

Love the dress on the left. The prints on the fabric look really cute from here and it's got that tent-like silhouette that's so comfortable and very typical of mori girls. The tshirt on the right reminds me of something from Syrup, another Japanese brand associated with mori girls. Light drawings on graphic print tshirts seem to be quite popular.

I apologise for the small size of the pictures--the website didn't have anything larger.

Image source: Furfur

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yu Aoi as Hagumi Hanamoto in Honey and Clover live action movie

Even before the term 'mori girl' was coined, Yu Aoi (a mori girl icon herself) played Hagumi Hanamoto, whose creation by manga artist Chica Umino seems to have foreshadowed the explosion of the mori girl aesthetic.

I read the manga before watching the movie, and I have to say that the casting was fantastic. I thought Hagu would be a difficult character to portray, but Yu Aoi made the role her own. She was every bit as elusive and quietly ethereal as I would imagine Hagu to be in the flesh.

Hagu's wardrobe in the film was delightful as well. Comprised mainly of long dresses worn over brightly coloured tshirts and jeans, the clothing was brightly quirky, yet managed to retain a girlishly bashful feel.

This has got to be my favourite dress from the movie. Love the colour combinations and how they styled the same dress a little differently at different parts of the movie.

I wouldn't have thought of pairing a floral sundress with a sporty tshirt like that, but somehow it looks right on Hagu.

Another sporty tshirt-floral dress combo worn over jeans.

This time, Hagu layers a dress over a green tshirt which is in turn layered over a purple long sleeved tshirt. This is something only Yu Aoi could pull off.

One of the floral dresses we saw earlier, this time worn with a red tshirt and pink cardigan.

You can't see it in this picture, but Hagu is actually wearing a below-the-knee dress with black maryjanes. This dress is very Marimekko, don't you think?

Hagu painting cherry blossom trees outside. Notice how even her dress has cherry blossoms all over it!

Few other actresses could have pulled off these clothes. Yu Aoi's natural and thoroughly unpretentious air makes her look at ease in the quirkiest of outfits.

If you want to watch the Honey and Clover live action movie, getting it from my affiliate link would make me really happy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Blog: Lessons in Cute

I have started a new blog called Lessons in Cute where I will post about other types of fashion that I like. You guys might like to check it out. Of course, I will continue to update Mori Girl!

Peter Pan Blouses


I found these utterly adorable Peter Pan blouses online! The company selling them, French Toast, is actually a school uniform retailer. The mori girls Mixi community has mentioned Peter Pan collars as a favourite of mori girls, and I can completely see why.

Image source: French Toast

Featured Brand: Tsumori Chisato

Yet another brand that the original Mixi community of mori girls has brought to our attention as a favourite is Japanese designer label Tsumori Chisato. Her creations are often simple in cutting and feature crazily intricate details. She has been known to make necklaces out of pasta and sew beads and interesting fabrics in insane patterns onto her clothing. Doesn't that sound exactly like something a mori girl would do? The following pictures are from her Autumn/Winter 2009/2010 Ready-to-Wear collection. Click to enlarge and examine the detail.

Colourful dresses in the loose silhouettes favoured by mori girls. The styling here is pretty bold, but I think with more subdued accessories they are quite wearable.

The dress would look cute with plain cream tights or grey knee-high socks. It's got stars everywhere--how dreamy! And I love the Peter Pan collared shirt!

There are blue cats on the first dress! The striped bloomers make the outfit look clownish, but the dress itself is adorable and very childlike. The top in the second picture is cute too but I'm not sure if it's attached to the pants.

While looking through other collections, I just felt I couldn't not share with you last year's Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear. With its more subdued tones and cute cocoon silhouettes, it's so representative of mori girl style.

The pink dress is just so sweet and delicate! And the purple dress looks just like a flower in bloom.

These cocoon-shaped outfits are adorable and extremely wearable.

Somehow, I can't help but suspect I've seen pictures of Yu Aoi wearing something from Tsumori Chisato.

Image source: Flip-Zone

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Featured Mori Girl: Hagumi Hanamoto from Honey and Clover manga

Hagumi Hanamoto (花本 はぐみ) from the Japanese manga Honey and Clover (ハチミツとクローバー) has often been cited as the archetypal mori girl. Although she is 18 years old at the start of the manga, her appearance is extremely childlike, often leading to her being mistaken for a middle school student.

Hagu is usually depicted in the manga as wearing long, rather baggy looking dresses, sometimes layered with long-sleeved tops or cardigans, and flat shoes. The whole mori girl aesthetic seems to have been modelled on this extremely comfortable, feminine yet childlike style.

 Hagu's hair appears long, wavy and rather unkempt, and is sometimes left loose and adorned with hairpins or flowers. At other times, she adopts cute hairstyles such as two high buns perched on either side of her head, or wearing half her hair in two small knobs with the rest of the hair left loose.

Appearance aside, Hagu's character and personality possess qualities that make her a mori girl through and through. A first year student at an art college at the start of the manga, she is an extremely talented artist who has already had works exhibited despite her young age. In the D-I-Y spirit of the mori girls, her enjoys making clothes both for herself and her dolls, and she also enjoys playing with clay. She keeps a scrapbook in which she sticks pictures of clothing and accessories she wishes she could afford.

 Hagu has an extremely curious and childlike personality, often delighting in things adults show little interest in such as Christmas parties. While she is painfully shy at the start of the series, she starts to open up later on and becomes more independent. She is often seen doing comical things like drinking non-alcoholic champagne meant for kids while the other characters are drinking beer.

However, the quality that is most inspiring to mori girls is Hagu's commitment to her passion for art. She is extremely motivated and never tires of creating things, finding inspiration in everything in her environment.

I think we can all learn something from Hagu's boundless curiosity and endless inspiration. One of the things I remember most is a part where Hagu is asked how she bought snacks or clothes in high school without earning extra money through a part-time job. She responds that she picked berries, fruits and nuts from the surrounding greenery and sewed her own clothes.

On top of all that, her behaviour is super cute and funny! You have to read the manga before you realise this.

If you want to read this manga (one of the best and most genuine in my opinion), getting it from my affiliate links will help me continue contributing this site, for which I will be very, very grateful!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q-pot candy motif accessories

Mori girls love candy motifs and all things whimsical, and Japanese accessories brand Q-pot has been cited by the original Mori Girl Mixi community as a favourite. Q-pot has a range, charmingly called Q-pot Parlor, that features startingly lifelike replicas of chocolate, cake and candy.


Their most popular item must be their macaroon pendants and cellphone straps. They're really cute in an extremely girly way.


These are supposed to be chocolate roses. I wouldn't have suspected they were supposed to be made of chocolate if the website hadn't said so, to be honest.

Bananas dipped in chocolate. These look genuinely yummy despite the crystals in the chocolate. I think they're fun!

These appear to be cream-filled pastries. The slabs of strawberry look fresh enough to eat.

While I think many of the rings and pendants are really quite cute, I draw the line at these bracelets. Those are scoops of ice cream, by the way.

These are a tad overwhelming! They look like an interpretation of spiked punk bracelets.

Unfortunately, the bright artificial colours don't make these cakes look too tasty.

Limited edition box from a few years back. Lovely presentation!

What do you think of these accessories? Too sickly sweet for mori girls or appropriately quirky? I think in small amounts they can be quite whimsical, pretty additions to light coloured outfits.