While Snow Peak has been making high quality outdoor gear for more than fifty years, the Japanese brand is still pretty new at apparel. In fact, their first clothing collection debuted only last fall. Snow Peak really hits its stride, however, with their new FW15 collection under the direction of 28-year-old designer Lisa Yamai, granddaughter of founder Yukio Yamai. Largely unisex, the functional pieces surprise with their sophistication and wearability. “We strive to provide the utmost comfort within nature,” Yamai tells CH. “Using this idea, we are able to make totally unique clothing for real life needs.”
The FW15 collection is organized into three categories titled Camp, Dwell and Transit. “The separate categories may look, on the surface, very different but they have the same core value of ‘lifestyles that transition comfortably between city and nature,'” says Yamai. “Gender, nationality, values; there are many ways we label and bound ourselves. I like to think of these three categories as an ‘entrance’ for a new school of thought or lifestyle. Much like three doors that will lead you right into beautiful nature, to paths that ultimately will lead to one realization: the value of spending time outside.”
Yamai’s design inspiration is informed by real life experiences and necessities, whether her own or those of others, at home, commuting and around the campsite. “One fleece in particular, that we put a lot of work into, incorporates Kanekalon® which is a raw material that has traditionally only been used for flame retardant hair-extensions,” says Yamai regarding one of the newer materials they’ve been experimenting with. “For years, we heard our customers tell us that all their jackets had holes in them because of sparks landing on them. Polyester fleeces and campfires have always been a bad combination.”
Some of the pieces feature a collaborative print made with Yamai’s close friend Japanese artist Toyoki Adachi of print and graphic design studio Nowartt. “I knew I would like him when I heard that all of his artwork was inspired from monuments of nature and animals,” she says of the first time they met. “I was deeply impressed with his delicate work, which is characteristically Japanese. I had him sketch me while I was using Snow Peak gear at HQ Camp Field. Of course, all of this was done through his heritage hunter theme. Then we had the designs hand screen-printed by craftsmen in the same prefecture as our HQ [Niigata].” This “Camp Field Print” can be seen on three styles: a button down shirt, down cardigan and down vest. And, upon a very close look at the print, you can spot Nowartt and Snow Peak’s logos sketched onto a wooden signpost.
Regardless of category, each piece looks beyond comfortable and durable. The outdoor jackets—from a beautiful corduroy utility jacket (with matching vest and pants) to a field coverall jacket (a collaboration with Japanese label MARKAWARE) to a fire-resistant hoodie—are the standouts here, and what we’re coveting most this winter. Snow Peak hits the ball out of the park merging utility with timeless design, and Yamai is right: with a beautiful Snow Peak jacket at hand, your legs itch to head outside—whether it’s simply to grab groceries down the block, walk around the park, or venture out on a weekend escape.
Images courtesy of Snow Peak