This is, I think, the one question I've been asked a lot ever since I changed the way I branded myself and my blog (from Little Forest Girl → Oh My Little Girl). Some of you may remember that I said I won't be labelling my style as mori girl, as I felt that that would be quite restraining, and decided to just call it 'aomoji kei'. But what is aomoji-kei, really? I've been asked this question more times than I can count. So today, I decided to finally clarify a few points about aomoji-kei. Please do remember that this is only my understanding of things. I am in no way an expert on the style and I don't claim to be one. I'm just sharing with everyone what I know and everything that I've learned, heard and read through different aomoji-kei sites, variety shows featuring the style, and magazines. Anyway! According to its Japanese Wikipedia page:
Aomoji-kei fashion is a girly, casual fashion that isn't meant to curry favor with men. Compared to those who support akamoji-kei, those who wear aomoji-kei fashion tend to like fashion from Harajuku more than the gyaru fashion originating from Shibuya, and have a strong tendency to like casual, creative fashion. Its level of support mainly comes from late teens to early twenties who adopt the fashion based on the things they think are nice without caring about the viewpoints of the opposite sex.
(Photo of Zipper models with food somewhat related.)
Simply put, aomoji-kei is all about wearing whatever you want to wear. It's about dressing up for yourself, and not for others. There are no set rules, and trends tend to play only a small part in dressing up. It's more about what the wearer thinks looks good or feels like wearing. The reason why there's isn't definitive look for it (and also the reason why it's hard for me to put into words) is because people who are into aomoji-kei tend to switch between different styles that they like.
Whenever I get asked about aomoji-kei, I'm almost always at a loss for words. The best way that I can explain, I think, is by showing people examples. The best example of aomoji-kei, for me, can be seen in the magazine Zipper. The Zipper roster is composed of many dokusha models (reader models) that have their own styles and tastes, which I think is a good thing! Unlike magazines where models are just asked to wear certain things, in Zipper it's become a point for everyone to wear things according to their own styles. In this way, you can see that it really shows the essence of aomoji-kei. Other magazines that show casual aomoji-kei style are CUTiE, SEDA, Used Mix, Choki Choki Girls, etc. Aomoji-kei also includes many of the already-known fashions in Harajuku: lolita, mori girl, fairy kei, dolly kei, cult party kei, etc. These styles are perfectly showcased in the Harajuku-kei magazine, KERA. KERA is pretty much the same as Zipper, only the styles in the former are more 'hardcore', in my opinion. I think that because it takes a lot of attitude to pull them off on a daily basis.
Okay! Since I think I've already said too much about my idea of what aomoji-kei is, this time I'll show everyone using pictures. Yay! Please take note that this post is VERY image-heavy. I had a bit too much fun gathering examples, haha!
The two 'bibles' of aomoji-kei: Zipper and KERA Magazine.
The representative of the aomoji-kei movement ever since it started becoming popular (around 2011?) and the number one example of what it is all about, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! She once said in an interview, "It's fashion enjoyed by people who like Harajuku and come to the area. Aomoji-kei can be very colorful--like what I wear--vintage clothes or Lolita fashion".
As the representative of aomoji-kei and Harajuku itself, Kyary has been on the covers of both Zipper and KERA many times.
Some of Kyary's outfits, for photoshoots (above) and for everyday (below).
Aside from Kyary, there are a number of other 'representatives' of the style. They serve as a sort of example and inspiration for many others who are into aomoji-kei. One of these is Silent Siren, a girl's band made up of dokusha models. Although, Yukarun, the keyboardist, is an akamoji-kei model.. even though most of her daily coords are aomoji-kei. Strange, haha!
AMOYAMO, a pop-duo made up of dokusha models AMO and AYAMO, are another example. The two are quite popular as part of the Zipper roster. I'm a fan of AMO myself! I like her dolly, fairy-like style and am greatly influenced by it. Together with AYAMO, whose style is inspired by punk rock and the casual, laid-back American style, they make quite an interesting pair!
Seto Ayumi and Yura, also Zipper models, are two more that I really like. (I also seem to have quite a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Yura. Only because her black hair + porcelain white face are so pretty and perfect.)
More examples of aomoji-kei, on the streets. (Note: unique legwear and socks are a popular item!)
So now that we know what aomoji-kei really is, how is it different from akamoji-kei then? According to the internets:
The style-free aomoji-kei (literally: blue ink type) trend is believed to have evolved as a reaction to akamoji-kei (literally: red ink type), a term invented to explain the elegantly casual yet conservative fashion favored by female college students and young office workers.
So, in this sense, akamoji-kei is sort of like the opposite of aomoji-kei. I think what most people forget is that Japanese fashion isn't all about Harajuku. There is also another side, a more elegant and conservative one, which is akamoji-kei. This type of fashion is shown in magazines such as JJ, ViVi, Ray, and CanCam. I also put some examples below:
Akamoji-kei magazines ViVi and Ray.
Some examples of akamoji-kei in magazines and on the street. Just by looking at these, you can already tell how different the two styles are. From what it looks like, it seems that this style is quite big on trends. I remember before there was even an issue of ViVi which featured how to emulate popular bloggers' styles. Brand name clothing and makeup also appear a lot. Another apparent difference is that their magazines usually feature professional models instead of dokusha models.
Now.. I don't know where gyaru or gal fashion falls under, or if it falls under any of these two at all. I know that most of the akamoji-kei fashion is mostly from Shibuya, but I'm not sure if gyaru falls under it. Maybe it does, but I don't really know, because some styles of gyaru don't aren't exactly -conservative- so.. You'll have to ask someone else about that, sorry!
Anyway! Seeing as this post has gotten 10 times longer than I intended it to be, I think I'll stop here. To summarize everything in one sentence: Aomoji-kei is all about wearing whatever the hell you want to wear, or whatever you think is cute. Simple enough, right? For me, it's all about finding what works best for you and starting from there. I personally like mori girl, cult party kei, fairy kei, and kimokawa (weird-cute) things so I've come up with a way to fit all these into a style that suits me best. And if I get bored, I can always try something else, just to break the monotony, since I always go back to what I like best anyway. So! I hope you found this post useful. I actually wanted to make it much, much more detailed, with the different aomoji-kei brands and such, but that would take foreeever. So I hope just this is enough, and that you were able to pick something up from this whole thing.. even if it did turn out like some overly-long essay haha ;;
Thank you so much for reading! ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ☆