I <3 Mori Girls

One guilty reason why I love my students is because I often mine them for cool things.  They usually don’t realize that they’re the ones who are in the thick of it.  They tell me about some of the weirdest stuff.  Stuff they just happen to like naturally and daydream about.  Stuff that isn’t mentioned by editors, WWD, or other mouthpieces of fashion. (Would this fall under “Stuff I’m Too Old to Notice”?)

So a student I had (and if she’s reading this, thank you so much for turning me on to this) told me about Mori Girls.  Did you know about this?!?!?  (As a side note, I am always pleasantly surprised and relieved when a fellow designer admits to being the last to know about something.  A friend recently asked, “Am I the last person to know about ASOS?  Me: Um, no.)  I am hardly an expert on all the different Japanese street styles but the Mori girls, or “forest” girls, are the nature-loving-feminine-soft-flowy-dress-wearing-bang-sporting-natural-fiber-adoring subculture.

Clothing you can EAT in.
Clothing you can EAT in.

There’s a bevy of Japanese books that appeal to this aesthetic, like The Feminine Wardrobe and Linen, Wool, Cotton.  They have patterns and sewing directions for garments, slippers, bags and scarves.  Whomever designed the garments in this next one is very smart.  They created a slew of dresses, blouses and tunics from just a basic babydoll shape.  I think every last one is adorable.  I made the one on cover.  All my girlfriends were like, “That is the perfect dress” but my brother-in-law calls it “The Box.” Sigh.

I will most certainly "wear with freedom."
I will most certainly “wear with freedom.”

These Mori Girls are just few of the things that have been rolling around in my head.  You already know about my folkwear obsession but my inspiration also includes housedresses (yes, the kind grannies wear):

I'm wearing one as we speak.
I’m wearing one as we speak.
Who knew DVF could launch a brand from this?
DVF wasn’t the first to design a wrap dress.

Snow White (the Grimm version, not Disney):

"Schneewittchen" in the Fountain of Fairytales in Berlin.
“Schneewittchen” in the Fountain of Fairytales in Berlin.

and Little House on the Prairie (the books, not the show):

Garth Williams' illustrations
“After we clean, we can play with our corn cob dolls!”

With all of this as inspiration, I designed a mini-collection.  And here are some sketches:

…smocks, pinafores, wraps…
…aprons, shifts, tunics…
…pockets, layers, tabards…

I won’t say much about them.  I’m just going to quietly document the process and hopefully you’ll learn something from it.