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.


6 thoughts on “I <3 Mori Girls

  1. I’m in wardrobe transition right now, in a space where I promised myself to never buy pants again. Only dresses. And tights, I guess, for winter. And I should have a pair of jeans.
    I’m way into all of this.
    But I also promised myself to not buy any new clothes for one full year and really wear what I have and re-assess next fall. Let’s see how I do.
    By then you should have a full line of these out, right? Available in store and by appointment?
    Good. I’ll be ready.

    Right now I’m ready for some facetime with you. When are you available?

  2. I’m a seamstress from way back. I was my sewing teachers favorite student. Hard to believe that I’m 57 years old and love what they call the Mori Girl look. I’ve loved it since the 70s and dubbed my style the shabby Gunne Sax. I made my daughters many dresses like this but only as far as they’d allow. They were never on the shabbiest side. Now my style had come into style and all my daughters and granddaughters are grown. I may have to take up dressmaking to sell for the simple joy of someone wearing what I’ve sewn! It’s an adorable look. Peasant periodically English I’ve also called it when the flouncy country cotton look went out of style. I’m happy it’s been named Mori and it’s in style!

    1. Oh this is so great to hear! I actually remember the dreamy and romantic Gunne Sax dresses. I used to swoon over them and pretend what it was like to wear them. It’s so wonderful to see trends come and go, isn’t it? Best of luck with your endeavors and thanks for the lovely comment!

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