NEW YORK – Snow Peak, the Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand, now has a New York store at 59 Crosby Street.
Finding the 2,200-square-foot shop, which also has a 1,100-square-foot lower level that will be used for special events, “took a ton of work,” according to general manager Russell Borne. Aside from Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue store and a more limited selection at Steven Alan, New Yorkers may only know the brand from its heritage, which dates back to 1958.
SoHo shoppers will find a sampling of women’s apparel, and a wider assortment of men’s styles, which are designed to be unisex. Designer Lisa Yamai, whose grandfather Yukio started the company, always aims to create men’s clothes that women would wear. “That’s always on her mind,” Borne said. “The Japanese are a lot more easy about buying gender-neutral clothing.”
Still hiring salespeople, Borne and some of his fellow Portland, Ore.-based colleagues have been pitching in downtown. In addition to a U.S. office, the company has a store in Portland’s Pearl District where the average purchase is about $150. Next year a third store may be opened in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
In New York, a $800 wax cotton utilitarian down jacket and a $230 shirt with a campground print are early favorites. Snow Peak will also offer select items from a continually changing range of other outdoor-inspired brands such as VSSL utility tools, Jacobsen salt and Helle knives.
To try to relay a sense of weightlessness, all of the store’s fixtures, hooks and clothing racks are suspended from the ceiling. Designing the space, Andrea Westerlind and Grant Blakeslee took into consideration the fact that many hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts are accustomed to looking skyward to take in the view of mountain peaks. The duo also used plants, islands of rocks and ash wood fixtures to try to evoke the Japanese countryside’s waterways and stone paths.
The range of mountains near Niigata Prefecture, Japan, have been used by Snow Peak’s founder, a mountaineer in his own right, as a source of inspiration for Snow Peak products for years. During her New York stay for the SoHo store opening, his granddaughter plans to squeeze in some time for the great outdoors. This weekend she will head upstate to shoot Snow Peak’s new look book on a lake.