Do you see yourself as outdoorsy, athletic, adventurous and at one with nature? I’m none of those things so why am I so enamoured with Snow Peak? And specifically its new retail playground in Piccadilly?
Back-story: Snow Peak originated in 1958 when founder Yukio Yamai, a dedicated Japanese mountaineer became frustrated with the standard available kit he was using. He set to creating a company that aligned his love of nature with high quality design and craftsmanship of the sort we’ve come to expect from Japanese brands. Fast-forward to the late 80s and his son (and current president) Tohru Yamai joined the fray to reinvent the image of camping in Japan. Later, Tohru’s daughter (now vice president) Lisa Yamai joined and launched the clothing division.
So how is Snow Peak different and more tantalising than any other high-end glamping purveyor? It’s not just the romanticism of a Japanese concept.
(OK, maybe a little.) ‘Noasobi’, the concept of ‘playing in the outdoors’ is key, but for me it’s the magic combo of high-tech performance products with unfussy design and fine attention to detail.
Think Manufactum meets Visvim in terms of product offer, with wrap dresses, trad kimono styling, Saki Ori vests and grip-soled Geta sandals happily residing alongside technical nylon outerwear and fire resistant cottons for those campfire singalongs.
The store is a masterclass in stealth seduction. Uncluttered layouts and lots of calming glass and reclaimed wood lend an aura of quiet, expensive comfort. And while the clothing takes precedence upstairs (including a wonderful collaboration with New Balance’s Tokyo Design Studio – below), the ground floor hosts a tea and coffee hangout, with ceramics sold alongside.
Below ground is where you’ll find all the camping porn. Tents, multi-purpose sleeping bags, rechargable lanterns and all manner of foldable accoutrements promise to turn your humble abode into a fantasy log cabin. It’s less Nuts In May and more ‘survival of the chicest’ super-luxe expedition. But all totally believable and executed in the best possible taste. Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Snow Peak
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