Friday: Steampunk World: Fashion & Mainstream

First, a little bit of housekeeping. I’ve moved the posts to update at 11am so people on Facebook actually get to see them. Assuming my auto-posts are working, of course…

Now, I am sure those of you who follow Steampunk fashion have noticed there are several categories.
There are those who believe Steampunk is a grassroots movement that should remain somewhat “underground,” characterized solely by maker-personalities building things from scrap metal and the amazing seamstresses who can weave the fabric and then sew it into something greater.
There are those who think of Steampunk as the thing that happened when Goths discovered brown.
And there are those who think of Steampunk as an opportunity for the world to rebrand the green movement, to encourage recycling and upcycling, to teach kids how to make things by first showing them how to repaint cheap garbage and later moving on to mad science and thrift shopping.

I’m more in this third camp. Sometimes I see other Steampunkers despair because it’s gone “main stream” (as though a movement set in history could be any more main stream). For example, this beautiful Prada lineup coming out this fall (the image links to Tor’s review of the lineup):

You can also find a video on the background of this line here. I notice there are no goggles. Or watches. So much for accessorizing. Maybe a steam powered walking stick…

Then there’s the movie lineup of the last 9 months and next 6… including such alternatively Steampunk movies as The Three Musketeers, with its unrivaled costuming, Hugo, with its incredible inventions and clockwork, and John Carter with its origins set in the time Steampunk early fiction was being written.

Then there are the highly popular music videos by that Bieber kid and Nicki Minaj. It’s a fact.  Steampunk needs the mainstream attention to bring new inventors into the fold. Sure, we’re seeing Disney movies with goggles and pretty gadgets, but Disney was in love with Steampunk before it had a name. All this attention serves to bring those of us wandering around in ascots more notoriety. And it makes the slew of conventions popping up everywhere have more meaning.

What does this mean for us? Or for the makers, the developers? It means the same thing it always has, when the mainstream starts “manufacturing” the “authentic new antiques” of years past. It means consumers get smarter, inventors improve on the mousetrap, and ingenuity rolls on. It is the backbone of Victorian industrialism that they continued to invent newer, more efficient things. (Or at least weirder things). So the maker ethos evolves while things like Apogaea and Burning Man take off. Why? Because they begat things like the Neverwas Haul. Even Miyazaki capitalized on that idea. So the moral of the story? If someone starts copying your idea with plastic imitations, improve on the schematics.

Somewhere in this post I had a point about mainstream Steampunk fashion…

As for me, I am thrilled because it means events like AnomalyCon keep growing, and the Colorado Steampunks have a reputation for awesome. So keep growing, Steampunk. I can’t quit you.

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One thought on “Friday: Steampunk World: Fashion & Mainstream

  1. Best post I’ve seen on the ‘steampunk going mainstream’ topic. I’m not sure why it is something people are upset about. It just gives an opportunity for more people to enjoy the awesomeness! More creativity, bigger events, more everything. That’s not a bad thing in my book.

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