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.