I want to be a Yama Girl. These mountain girls of Japan appear to have exclusive access to some of the most fashionable outdoor gear around. OK I don't plan on climbing Ama Dablam or Rainier in a colorful skirt, leggings and designer boots, but these stylish yet functional pieces would add some fun to trekking, hiking, trail running or other casual activities in the outdoors.
Many of the major North American and European outdoor brands create exclusive collections for the Japanese market. Numerous homegrown Japanese brands such as Nanamica and White Mountaineering have popped up as well to take advantage of the country's new outdoor chic trend.
French company Aigle has recently embraced Yama Girl fashion and created an entire collection for these mountain girls together with Japanese designer Yuri Yosumi. The North Face, Lowe Alpine and Berghaus have also followed suit by teaming up with Japanese designers such as Waste(Twice).
The North Face recently collaborated with Harris Tweed to release an entire houndstooth collection under their Japanese exclusive Purple Label.
Check out this super cute down skirt/skort from Marmot in Japan.
Through Japanese retailer Oki-Ni, the outdoor enthusiast in Japan has exclusive access to the super stylish handmade Italian old school Fracap mountaineering boots. I would love to hike the Alps in a pair of these!
Even Merrell and KEEN create more colorful footwear for the Japanese market as seen below.
Does the Japanese market signal a greater trend of outdoors meeting high fashion, such as the JanSport Barneys collaboration? Traditional fashion stores like UNIQLO and H&M are quickly entering the outdoor market with outerwear and base layer collections.
So c'mon Outdoor Industry, I want to be a Yama Girl too. Don't let the high street fashion houses fill the North American outdoor style void- make this fun, fashionable outdoor gear available for the rest of us as well.