Tag Archives: Victorian

5 Things We Love About Steampunk

We love the steampunk aesthetic and the community around it! If you’re not familiar with steampunk, it’s a subgenre of science fiction that imagines a world powered by steam — usually a Victorian-era world, but as you’ll find out in a minute, there are endless variations. This literary genre has inspired costumers, cosplayers, musicians, prop makers and more. Conventions around the world give steampunks a place to gather, show off their latest creations, shop, hear their favorite bands, drink tea, and generally escape the mundane world for one powered by steam and imagination.

Here’s just a few of the things we love about steampunk.

Steampunks Are Makers

The steampunk community values handmade items. Many steampunks make their own costumes and props, and what they can’t make themselves, they often buy from other artists.

And as if that’s not enough, many makers in the community share their techniques freely on the internet, as shown in this fun tutorial for a top hat.

Steampunks Are Green

A lot of steampunks love to recycle, upcycle, and repurpose in the creation of their costumes and props. From taking a ho-hum blazer and turning it into a sweet jacket to assembling a ray gun from random bits of hardware, they’re always looking at things others would discard and asking themselves “How can I salvage this?”

In a world that treats so many things as disposable, it’s refreshing to see an entire community built around giving old things new life, and keeping perfectly good materials out of the landfills. In the process of learning how to remake things, you can also learn valuable skills that will help you repair the non-costume items in your home and give them a longer life, too.

Sakkara Clothing & Costume belt made with upcycled textile scraps.

Steampunk Has So Many Permutations!

Although the steampunk literary genre started out with stories that imagined a Victorian England powered by steam, people took that idea and ran with it. Now you can find steam-powered adventures taking place in every corner of the globe, in imagined worlds, and in a post-apocalyptic future. Some steampunk stories rely only on science, while others add in magic.

In its alternate history variations, steampunk can serve as a lens to look at some of the problematic issues in our past, such as Imperialism, colonization, racism and slavery. Many steampunk novels feature anarchist heroes, or at least an element of civil unrest. Others serve more as a fun romp through an imagined past, and can be an enjoyable escapist read when the real world becomes too much to handle.

Gail Carriger’s books feature airships, parasols, vampires, and werewolves.

Steampunk Music Rocks

The funny thing about steampunk music is that it’s a genre bound together by a general aesthetic and subject matter, and not any sort of musical style. As such, no matter what your tastes, you can probably find a steampunk band that appeals to you. There’s steampunk rap, steampunk metal, and steampunk earworms, like this popular track from Seattle group The Nathaniel Johnstone Band.

Steampunk is Fun for All Ages

Although some steampunk conventions will have adults-only events like burlesque revues and absinthe tastings, over all the genre is great for the whole family, Kids can really get caught up in the sense of wonder engendered by floating airships and talking automatons. We love to see whole families dressed up and enjoying an event together.

Steampunk can be an opportunity to introduce your kids to the joy of creating a character and making their own costumes and props. It can also be used as a lens to explore history and culture. If your children enjoy a specific alternate-history steampunk book or movie, it can serve as an excellent springboard for them to learn about how that period in time played out in our own world. Ask them to explore what was the same between the book and reality, and where the author took some liberties. What a great learning opportunity and thought exercise for older children.

Of course, the really little ones just look adorable in tiny boots and aviator’s caps.

This steampunk baby carriage posted by Zoluna on DeviantArt is a thing of beauty.

If you love steampunk too, we hope you’ll come see us at Steamposium 2017 here in Seattle! The event is happening October 27-29 and there’s a great lineup of guests and events, plus vending (that’s where you’ll find Sakkara Clothing & Costume).