The Great Outdoors
For Tokyo’s Yama Girls, wilderness skills are as important as their rugged outfits
Style / 19 Oct 2011
Forget Goth Lolitas—the latest Tokyo subculture has young women literally heading to the hills. Called Yama Girls, this new group prefers hiking boots to heels, backpacks to parasols, and weekends spent in the mountains rather than on the streets of Harajuku. With dedicated clothing lines, festivals and magazines, a bona fide lifestyle has been born out of what began as a mere fashion statement.
Hiking Skirts:
There’s no strict dress code for Yama Girls, yet there are certain pieces that define their look. Navajo-print leggings, tie-dye T-shirts, and oversized sun hats all feature prominently. But the centerpiece is the “hiking skirt,” considered both feminine and functional (it makes everything from going to the bathroom to changing into fresh clothing a bit easier). Brands have been quick to catch on. Blogger Yuri Yosumi, the unofficial founder of the Yama Girl movement, has designed hiking skirts for a few outdoor labels. Recently, she teamed up with Aigle, creating both a collection and a website where readers can both follow her blog and buy her favorite pieces.
Wilderness Tourism:
Whereas many Tokyo trends are based solely on fashion, Yama Girls have developed a lifestyle to complement their outfits. Trips to so-called power spots have led to both a national hiking boom (especially among females 25 to 29) and a marketing frenzy, with hotels offering Yama Girl weekend packages and tour groups organizing women-only outdoors excursions. Meanwhile, this past September’s Arth Camp drew hundreds of stylish outdoor enthusiasts from Tokyo to the forests of Shizuoka. The sold out festival included art installations, hands-on workshops, corporate sponsors (among them, outdoor shoe brand Keen), and views of one of Japan’s most vaunted power spots, Mt. Fuji.
Yama Girl Media:
Prospective Yama Girls who wouldn’t know their hiking skirts from their power spots have magazines to guide them. Randonnée straddles the line between fashion and adventure, with sleek photo spreads accompanying stories on setting up campsite burners and identifying local flora. The magazine also publishes seasonal street style issues, so those who aren’t sure how to pair their long johns with shorts can see the look in action. Catering to the slightly older, more dedicated Yama Girl is Hütte, which launched last year. While the rag features glossy pages of outdoors products and beautiful models faux-trekking, it also offers detailed hiking maps and mountain area guides.
©The Intelligence Group