Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Steampunk Fashion and Subculture

Steampunk 101

There's actually a lot of steampunk stuff around. Steampunk is not quite connected to goth as you would think, though it has lots of parrallels and links, and there seems to be a few people into both. Both subcultures attract similiar sorts of people in a way, though steampunk has more of a fantastical/literary bent. In ways its like a hybrid of goth sub genres...... Victorian and Cyber.

Steampunk is interesting in that it is both a historical based fashion subculture, and a fantasy based one. So you could have quite a good time researching a 1882 Bustle, corset for the period, and then build a ray gun to wear with it.

Music wise, there are a couple of bands - Thomas Truax, Darcy James, Tom Waits, Abney Park, and Vernian Process.
Abney Park were/are touring Australia later this year.

It definitely has a sophisticated streak. Steampunk has a great appreciation for the visuals, and they have a fascination for historical fashion. But its all quite flexible at the same time, a little bit like some of the less serious Historical re-enactment groups.

Sometimes it is compared to cyber fashion....similarly they both combine an industrial element with fashion. The difference being that instead of electronics with Cyber, the technology applied to Steampunk fashion is antiquated instead of futuristic. Goggles are common to both...except of course instead of cyber welding goggles, Steampunkers will be wearing 19th c eyewear, sometimes aviator inspired.

The universal symbol of steampunk seems to be the almight cog. Almost like Ankhs and crucifixes are to gawths, cogs and mechanisms abound in Steampunk. Steampunk afficianados love to make gadgets as well, often hiding real functioning devices in them.

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So while steampunk focuses on creating and wearing fashion, there is a also a focus on making steampunk objects and devices.
Guns, steam powered jet packs, even steampowered vehicles. A studio with metal working equipment seems to be a handy asset. Generally, you want to antiquate something to make it look old and tarnished. Copper colouring, real metal. Actual antique objects are good too.
There is also a market for steampunk pseudo historical objects, including products made by Weta, the company that worked on Lord of the rings.

Some of the artifacts are big.....

Full size, working steampunk motorbike! (though not actually powered by steam, though there are bikes that are).

If you are interested, read more hereSteampunk magazine...can be downloaded for free.

Steampunk fashion LJ community - lots of focus on gadgetry and interesting fashion.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sub styles of fashion within the gothic Subculture

Was trying to think of the substantially obvious different styles of dress in the Goth subculture today...and was suprised to be able to come up with so many. However, dressing people up for a shoot meant that I had to represent the clothing in a particular way. It was then that I realised that some goths will mix and match from different sub genres - though plenty will be particular to their group.

Because the subculture has been around for so long, it has had quite a period of time (30 years or so) to develop sub genres of style that exist within the general mileux. It has also been affected by regional variation. So you have an affect where a local variation on styles has occurred, and then passed on to other areas. So goth style is picked up by the Japanese, who then modify it to EGA, which then may go back to the west.

I like lists. So I've put here a list of the most obvious sub genres of style I could think of.

Romantic (which actually looked fairly Victorian, but probably enough differences to make it not so) - Me
Graver - gothy with raver influences.
Goth Lolita -
Victorian -
Elegant goth aristocrat
EBM Industrial/combatty look.
Early punk-goth look

We noted how the full on Cybergoth look is a bit rare these days. The Graver look is about (as its practical and looks good too), a little bit of goth lolita about, and Victorian you see, though it is a bit rare too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


A very nice journalist person the other day asked me for information about Corseteers in Australia, so I got thinking of who the major corset makers were in Australia at the moment.

While obviously not something thats worn everyday, interest in the corset has continued in a number of aspects fo society..everywhere from historical re-enactors, the goth subculture, Burlesque and other performers, fetish and the sex industry.

There appears to be a bit of interest in corsets from the non traditional corset buying market.
I was at a market with a corset selling designer, and there were plenty of women in their 30's - 40's shoing interest in getting corsets done for them...while the few goths that were there seemed non-plussed..possibly because they already had corsets.

So I guess two important things here. (1)There seems to be an interest in corsetry at the moment, and...(2)you should never be suprised when you sell alt fashion to the mainstream world.

Corsetry can be the flashy thing that can be worn to dazzle and give a stylish traditional look to what you are wearing...or asian look if you want to wear one in chinese silk, as well as something that can be simply worn underneath what you are wearing to give you form. While traditionally were made out of traditional materials, corsetry these days can be made out of leather, PVC, Satin, rubber(I have one made by GeoMythik made from Tyre Innertubes) as well as Metal (I make them out of metal).

Anyways, the big Corseteers in Australia at the moment, that I am aware of are (Alphabetically):

Asylum 7

Defence Mechanism

Gallery Serpentine

Lyris Design

Victorian Gothic

The very talented Mel, from GeoMythik(, traditionally has made cyberesque rubber corsets, but now has started using other materials in her corsets as well. Plus if you want Metal corsetry, try my label

Monday, November 12, 2007


Normally subcultures in Australia are taken from other countries and just reproduced here. Sharps or sharpies are an Australian specific subculture, developed in Australian specific conditions.

Though influenced by the skinhead subculture, at face value they really look quite different. Their fashion while in some ways was similiar to Skinhead dress, in other ways it was not.

The most obvious point of difference, is the cardigan. Sharps wore cardigans. Possibly one of the few group of people that wore cardigans in any sort of aggressive tone, Sharps got cardigans especially made for them. They were made with certain colours, and patterns. They were generally made really tight so that when worn, they looked pretty macho/aggressive.

Sharps also had slightly longer hair, often short, back and sides. Sometimes possible with a tail, in effect....a mullet

Through our modern eyes, we may find someone wearing a cardigan as not particularly threatening, however Sharps were fairly violent.... in a similiar wat that English Skinheads.
They also had much of the subcultural aspects that you find in gang culture

Like skinheads, sharps wore clothes that extenuated their macho image, and made them look tough. Tight shirts, tight jeans. Sometimes the t-shirts would have the name of a particular gang on it. Sharps wore a particular type of leather shoe, which they could only buy from two show shops in the North of Melbourne. There were also only two shops that would sell their cardigans.

Sharps were biggest in Melbourne 1972 - 1977. Skinheads had evolved from "hard mods" in the late 1960's., a lot of Brits coming into England transferred aspects of the skinhead culture to Australia. Like skinheads, they fought each other and were picked upon by the police as obvious troublemakers.

All photo's copyright Larry Jenkins

Friday, October 5, 2007

Nadya Lev

I love Nadya Lev's photography......that's all

Plastik Wrap

I really like Plastik Wrap's designs. Having been around since 2000, these guys have been successful enough to open their own boutique. While they appear to be a fairly successful designer, some of their designs are really artistic, and quite sexy. They are keeping to their ideals and not aiming at the mass market.

They also put a lot of work into their website, promotions and photography. Apart from the obvious Cyber styling, they also have an alternate sci fi influence. Big points to being adventurous....would love to see it stocked locally. One of the main Canadian techno/cyber outfits.
And its made in Canada, not be sweatshops, so kudos to them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007



I find Mods and their attitude to fashion amazing. IN terms of subculture, and how they looked at fashion, they really had an attitude like no other. While Other subcultures chose to rebel through looking threatening, or different...or bizarre, Mods would spend exorbitant amounts of money on Suits. To a lot of mainstream people they looked very normal, and very well dressed.

The mod riots in 1964 were probably some of the biggest disturbances involving any subculture (except for maybe soccer skinhead violence). The interesting thing was that the Mods were so well dressed, that it caught people off guard, and they weren't expecting it.

Mods were all about fashion and looking sharp. A lot of mods were working class, and they ploughed their wages into getting suits made, and the latest mod fashion. And scooters.
In a lot of ways they have some parrallels to goth. A sense of arrogance, love of music, very much into style. The guys wore eyeliner as well...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Exo Electric anti physical assault jacket!!!!

I want one of these for getting a seat in the the crowded 8:01 Epping line carriages. 80,000 volts......

Researchers at MIT and Advanced Research Apparel have come up with a shocking new jacket design for women – literally.

Designed as an anti- assault device for women, this little black sports number carries an 80,000-volt, low amperage current just below the surface shell of the entire jacket.

Dubbed the “No-Contact Jacket”, this exo-electric armor protects the wearer by emitting a high voltage shock that interrupts a would-be assailant’s neurological impulses which control voluntary muscle movement. The attacker is thus temporarily “turned to jelly”.

Mercedes and Gen - House of Harlot designs

House of Harlot

I'm really not into Fetish.....

.....but I find the adventuressness of these guys pretty amazing. They work with Latex and appear regularly at the Venice Carnival (which I would love to go to).
IN Australia, Bella Rubber in Melbourne are working with rubber in an artistic couture sense, and Reactor Rubber in Sydney do as well... though they are fairly fetishist.

House of Harlot are quite getting into the visuals of their highly visual work, and are working on generating 3D background images to give their pics atmosphere.

First post for this Alternative Fashion Blog

First post.

This blog will be all about the wild world of Alternative Fashion.

Are you bored by blue denim?
Do you long for a hand bag that has big spikes?
Do you think that most fashion is incredibly boring?

Then you may be a fan of alt fashion.

As a professional researcher, owner of a jewellery label, and member of an organising committee for a fashion show, I plan to write about the world of alternative fashion on this blog.