Defining Steampunk

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Steampunk is a sub-genre of punk that is expressed in specific locations such as costume fairs, renaissance fairs, Blizz-con, Comic-Con, Halloween, the burning man festival, large carnivals or perhaps in a more intimate setting with a group of friends, on a day outside over a picnic. It is not usually considered everyday clothing, worn on a trip to the mall because most people are unfamiliar with the concept, and it is not so much an statement against specific modern social trends, as an expression of an idea of how things could be completely different.

The Steampunk genre is based around the idea of the continuation of technology along the limitations of steam power, as if the use of fossil fuels, and other forms of power had never been discovered. Copper tubing and brass metalwork are considered the elements most used to construct gadgets and gizmos within these limitations. Blown glass and small amounts of electricity can also be important elements in creating “infernal devices”.

Steampunk clothing and fashion is dated around the age where Steam-power was most prevalent, so Victorian and Edwardian themes are a staple when putting together a costume
The Steampunk genre is always widely used to imply an imagined future where we have returned to steam power due to the depletion of other resources. This idea allows for low-high-tech possibilities, and is in some ways more favorable since it can incorporate futuristic fantasy. A pair of steampowered personal wings. Giant sea-bearing vessels in the shape of an octopus.
Therefore, the word “Steampunk” could imply someone in today’s world who favors the idea of this alternate technology existing over our current state of affairs. But a costume can also be themed in a futuristic sense, depicting an everyday individual who exists in a world where steam is the most used form of power. A charcoal besmudged urchin who works all day in a factory providing steam power to produce marvels of futuristic steam technology. A bounty hunter who’s weapons are fashioned from the remnants of ripped apart weapons of war, no longer of use because of the deficiency of “old world fossil fuels, but refashioned to store a payload of steam pressure for the purpose of launching a projectile towards anything hostile.

Thirdly, a costume can also be themed around a futuristic human being, who is a Steampunk because he makes use of what he can – Steam-power, and low-hi-tech gear to rebel against society.
The futuristic ideas are “punk” against where modern consumerism and reliance on fossil fuels is leading us. To ultra societies, global warfare and/or the altering of technology. And so the genre can sometimes blur with post-apocalyptic punk, cyber-punk, zombie-punk, etc.

A Quick And Easy Guide To Steampunk

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The chances are that you will have already heard of Steampunk. From its humble beginnings as a literary genre it has expanded to become an extremely popular subculture, encompassing fashion, philosophy and way of life. Steampunk inspired items are nowadays visible in both high street retailers and mainstream media, but you might be wondering what its actually all about.
The movement originated around thirty years ago, as a literary genre stemming from cyberpunk. Books in this category were distinguished by the fact that they were set in worlds that resembled a gone-by generation where steam was the primary form of power, but in which there were also fantastical elements and futuristic touches. An example would be a world similar to Victorian era Britain in which people had invented futuristic steam powered machines, possibly to allow time travel or long distance communications.

Themes and ideas from these works of literature soon began to infiltrate other forms of media, and fans began to include elements in their everyday lives. Reading about these fantastical machines soon inspired people to try to create their own, and an underground style sprang up of dressing in the fashion of the characters. The subculture began to develop from the original ideas portrayed in literature.

The crucial theme in this subculture could be described with the idea of retro technology. It is this concept that participants attempt to apply to their lives through fashion, philosophy, media and home decor. The growing popularity of this subculture has led to it becoming an inspiration across many kinds of media, and recognition of these may also be a part of the lifestyle for some.
Nevertheless it is debated exactly what kind of music is a part of the subculture, numerous bands have claimed themselves to be inspired by it and for many, this music is an influential feature of their lifestyle. Recently PC games and movies have also begun to appear with Steampunk inspirations, and again many people embrace these as a part of the culture.

This lifestyle sometimes also includes the creation of machines similar to those found in the literature, and numerous also choose to decorate their homes in the fashion of the genre. This would usually include extensive use of materials such as leather, brass, rivets and mahogany, and the presence of items that look old-fashioned but might be technologically advanced. Some followers choose to rebuild gadgets such as laptops or watches to make them look as though they came from a bygone era or might be powered by steam.

Fashion and clothing are an important part of the lifestyle to numerous people. While there are no set guidelines, it is common to see old-fashioned, Victorian fashion clothes such as waistcoats, long dresses and frock coats. These will often be accessorized with technological fashion accessories such as elaborate watches, ray guns and even robot arms.
Perhaps the key aspect to the Steampunk lifestyle, however, is that none of these features are strictly defined. You do not have to wear certain clothing, act a certain way or do certain activities to be included in the lifestyle. Rather, whatever you choose to do to define yourself as Steampunk tends to be acceptable, and it is the way that individuals choose to interpret the theme themselves that is influential

Steampunk Grows With Victorian Roots

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Literary works of early 20th Century, and even dating to the Victorian era, have
influenced the genre known as Steampunk. While it is mostly a literary genre, it is also
defined by technology such as steam engines that were incorporated into the era’s science
fiction and fantasy. It’s been described as a sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more
whimsy and fewer orphans or, as Jess Nevins said, “Steampunk is what happens when
Goths discover brown.”









Steampunk has found its way into other categories such as romance, erotica, and young
adult fiction. Also growing in popularity are Steampunk clothes, a line defined by the
rough technology of the early 1900’s where a pair of goggles would fit in quite nicely.

This personal style includes both clothing and jewelry and, while the clothes are not
exactly Victorian, adding in technological bits or hints of a more adventurous life than a
typical Victorian citizen.

There are also Steampunk games such as Bioshock II and graphic novels and movies like
the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Sherlock Holmes episodes. TV shows
include Warehouse and there is Steampunk music and performance art.
While the genre includes the Victorian era, it includes advanced machines based on 19th
century technology, as well as the supernatural as well and may even take place in
another world.


Of course, Steampunk gadgets are coming into the real world. People have Steampunk’d
everything from computers, desks, telephone, watches and guitars to cars, motorcycles,
and homes. These objects can vary from a grungy look of a forgotten antique to the shiny
overwrought newness of a Victorian gentleman’s club. These are brass and copper, glass
and polished wood, engraving and etching, and details for the sake of details.

Finally, Steampunk shows a philosophical angle as well, which is somewhat of a
combination between the ideals of creativity and self-reliance and the Victorian
optimistic view of the future. This last part has led to accusations that Steampunk
includes a fair amount of empire worship, which is a reasonable concern. Another
criticism has been that Steampunk focuses on the best of the past and quietly sweeps the
problems of the day under the rug.