This summer, we're exploring the Healing Power of Nature through a series of stories from the Yamai family and members of the Snow Peak community. This week, we're telling the story of Lisa Yamai, daughter of Tohru Yamai and granddaughter of Snow Peak's founder, Yukio Yamai.
Lisa took a different path than her father and grandfather, choosing to study fashion design in Tokyo. To recharge from the work week, she would often return to Niigata for a weekend of camping and time in nature.
These trips back to Niigata offered Lisa rejuvenation and were also a source of inspiration. During her excursions she noticed how separate her life – and by extension ,her clothing – were from nature. She didn't want to leave behind her personal style when she ventured outside, and her outdoor apparel lacked the fashion sensibilities she valued. Lisa saw an opportunity to develop a new kind of outdoor apparel that utilized technical, high-performance fabrics while leaning into stylish silhouettes.
She brought the concept to her father, Tohru, who was leading Snow Peak as CEO and President. He agreed to her proposal, and she joined the brand and launched Snow Peak apparel in 2014. Lisa created a bridge between the fashion and outdoor industries by merging her two areas of passion. She brought the Snow Peak approach to apparel, working to eliminate barriers to experiencing nature. Each garment in the apparel collection is designed to seamlessly transition between urban and outdoor environments, offering city-dwelling outdoor enthusiasts one less thing to consider when trying to get outside.
In the annual catalog, Lisa reflected on the ways her father and grandfather influenced her work, "I think that Yukio was an artist. He was stoic toward making things, and, above all, he was pure. My father, Tohru is also pure, but he can think systematically about things, and while maintaining a balance between purity and reality, he can achieve a powerful amount of output. I am also a person who likes to make things, so at times I am drawn to the sensibilities of my grandfather, and at times I am drawn to the sensibilities of my father, and I feel that I can come and go between the two. I've come to the conclusion that I am who I am because of them.
That is probably the difference between the approach to mountain climbing and nature camping. One is the sharpening of the spirit by risking one's life on a winter's climb; the other is a return to humanity by spending time with family in good spirits at the base of the mountain, with both having an attraction and both being of value. When we face a mountain, we remember how small we are as humans, and when we spend time camping, surrounded by nature, we think, "Being human is not so bad." Both are important lessons from nature."
Since its conception, Snow Peak apparel has expanded to become a core part of Snow Peak's offering, closely integrating into our efforts to create a comfortable and restorative outdoor experience. Lisa Yamai's creative oversight continues to steer the company towards new and innovative horizons. In 2020, she was appointed President of Snow Peak Japan, continuing the heritage of Yamai leadership.
Read more stories from our Healing Power of Nature series.