Floralcore’s first post stays true to the blog’s name, and hits it off with something fragile and whimsical. Too bad flowers don’t actually grow on the beach. I haven’t seen a beach in over 3 years, which is probably why I am desperate to talk about Hama Kei, so bear with me.
Hama Kei is a Japanese subculture which can be roughly translated into “beach style”. It is an offshoot of the umbrella style Mori Kei, so let’s begin with the bigger one, shall we?
MORI KEI is one of the many, many Japanese styles, Keis, and this particular Kei focuses on the forest people. Well, it focuses on what life would be like if your pre-teen Little House on the Prairie/Anne of the Green Gables fantasies came true, and you got to live a simple yet fulfilling life in the forest.
Humble, modest, demure, this pastoral fantasy is brought to life by petite Japanese faerie girls who dress in the colors of the forest, have rosy cheeks, and know their way around the garden patch in their backyard… and all us regular mortals who wanna look like that, but can’t be bothered to leave the house for more than a forest photoshoot. Well it looks pretty.
The official colors are soft greens, browns, greys, whites – anything that blends in with forest scenery. Call the army, call the 90s, tell them camo has been found redundant! There’s a new pastel trend in town.
Fabrics play a key role here as well. The Mori girl has no time for frivolous details – she likes warm, soft, loose layers. She likes natural textiles: cotton, wool, linen, straw and soft leathers. She likes to glam things up a notch, and is happy wearing patterns – small, tight florals, gingham, even the odd plaid. She wears accessories resembling all the characters living in Redwall Abbey (which she probably grew up reading. Brian Jacques, ftw). She wears her hair loose and curly, and it never gets caught on branches, because the Mori girl is dreamlike, and doesn’t suffer from branches or mosquito bites. The Mori girl completes her image with a straw hat, some dainty doeskin shoes, and either a handmade shawl or a frilly apron.
If you are anything like me, you still shamelessly play with dress up games, so take a look at this excellent Mori Girl Dressup by Rinmaru Games for excellent insight into a really rich Mori girl’s wardrobe (like all Japanese trends, Mori Kei isn’t gentle on the wallet)(It is easy to sew, however, so there’s that).
HAMA KEI is all that, but based around the sea. Beaches, actually, because no one has yet seen a Hama Kei swimming suit, so Hama girls probably can’t swim. They can look pretty while they stare off wistfully to the waves. Hama girls are dressed for the beach, Victorian England style, more or less (less). Girlish dresses are a staple here, too, but it gets better. While the Mori girl is a curious child of the forest, the Hama girl is a sea witch. The Hama girl feels right at home wearing a vintage full-coverage wedding dress and no shoes, just a shawl covered in seaweed protecting her from the sea breeze.
She speaks the language of the waves and wants nothing more than to be a mermaid. You see, the Mermaid is the ultimate Hama Kei fantasy – no Hama girl is actually a mermaid, they are the romantic souls who dream of finding a mermaid sister in the shallow water. A Hama girl is to mermaids what Tatyana Larina is to adventure – she reads an awful lot about it, and would like to experience one sometime, maybe.
Hama girls dress in blues and tans and whites and greys and greens. They are the beach on a sunny day, they are the waves on a chilly morning. Shawls and long sweaters and stockings and boots. Cotton and wool, but also silk and chiffon. Anchors are cool, and seaweed, and boat knots, and rotting wooden boardwalks, and anything that can be salvaged off a ship.
Shabby chic is not a choice, it is what happens to all your furniture when you live on a beach. Hama girls get all the shabby chic karma points, courtesy of sea salt in the air. This sea salt does not prevent them from wearing their hair long and loose, because Hama girls are also dreamlike, and don’t suffer from windswept hair getting stuck to lip gloss, nor dry tips. Their favorite pastime is strolling down the beach, collecting sea shells and looking like a legit water nymph.
Hama Kei has not found its way into many forms other than fashion and beach house interior design, but unlike Mori Kei, it has its representative in the music scene, the French
mermaid singer Nolwenn Leroy.
There is not much to be found online about Mori Kei or Hama Kei, it is a trend its earliest stages. If you hop on soon enough, you’ll be able to say you liked it before anyone else, which is very satisfying whether you want to admit you’re a hipster or not. However, the Luddite nature of the trend makes it very unlikely to ever reach some mainstream popularity*. As a fan of Game of Thrones, I like to think that in another reality, where the Manderlys are included in the show, we’d have a lot of whimsical Hama Kei to balance out the Ironborn… iron. Go Wylla!
*u guys this is a street cred gold mine