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Steampunk fashion started under the influence of the steampunk science fiction subgenre. The latter is only a bastardization of cyberpunk. Victorian features mingle with elements from the industrial revolution in Europe in the nineteenth century. Steampunk fashion is developed with a post-apocalyptic era in the designer’s backhead. Most designs are DIY. Steampunk fashion includes clothing, hair style, jewellery, body transformation, and make-up.
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Steampunk fashion is inspired on the features of steampunk movement in science fiction. It is a mix of romantic vision of science in literature and industrialization in the Victorian Europe. The aesthetics of fashion is designed with a post-apocalyptic era in mind. At the first steampunk convention in 2006, “”SalonCon””, steampunk enthusiasts were dressed in costumes that reflected the time. The costumes include clothing, hairstyling, fashion jewelry, body change, and make-up. Later Steampunk fashion included also gadgets and contrasting equipment.

Initially, hand-tailored entrepreneurs and companies got interested when the steampunk movement grew. The mass production of steampunk clothing began. Garments as bustiers, bras, jackets, and other items were sold as well online as in stores.

The aesthetic of steampunk fashion is about constant since the creation. New ideas have led to subtle changes in literature and progress of science and technology. Although the genre was virtually unknown till the late 20th century, steampunk fashion has been around longer.

In the 80s and in 1990 steampunk fashion grew with gothic and punk movements. Cyberpunk and dieselpunk fashion are variants of steampunk fashion of the 1980s.


Steampunk fashion is influenced by early 19th-century fashion. Women’s fashion was often dominated by long, flowing dresses and royal coat bodices. The latter extended over the hips and only occasionally applied in the fabric of the skirt. In the beginning of the 1860s the bodice ended at the waist. New styles emerged and Garibaldi blouse was introduced. During the early 1860s the skirt hoops also took an elliptical shape. This gave a fuller back and a narrower silhouette in front. The resulting tapered skirts inspired steampunk fashion. At the beginning of the 20th century skirts flared to the hem became popular. Dresses for women sometimes got a masculine cut which gave an intimidating look. Evening dress for women was adorned with sparkling beads, bracelets, and showy embroidery. At that time the hobble skirt made its debut.

Inspiration from literature

Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, G. K. Chesterton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century are some of the most influential for steampunk fashion. These works tried Charles Dickens’s London to domesticate (from its industrial era novels). Sci-fi critics John Clute and Peter Nicholls commented that steampunk also was inspired by nostalgia. Modern steampunk literature that has had only began influence in the 1980s on the steampunk fashion of the 2010s. Steampunk writers from that period are credited with creating fantasy stories in cultures with Victorian styles. The stories contain vertiginous action scenes and elaborate baroque expeditions.

Kevin Jeter’s 1979 novel “”Morlock Night”” is considered the first steampunk novel and the beginning of the steampunk fashion.


Like its counterparts in other forms of art, especially literature, steampunk fashion is based on the aesthetics of an alternate history. Although critics disagree on the roots of fantasy literature, there are elements that suggest that some of the aesthetics come from books and films that alternate history exhibit using fantasy. The interest in steampunk aesthetics can also be due to an increased interest in the fashion industry in Victorian spiritualism during the decade from 2010.

Inside the steampunk fashion, there are a number of personas or archetypes. There is the brave explorer with pith helmet, brass telescope, and binoculars. There is courteous aviator with bird-like gadgets and devices, leather helmet, goggles and brass canvas jacket. Finally, there is the gentleman who wears a lab coat over his formal clothes and belts for all kinds of tools and instruments.


Messing accessories

Steampunk fashion is a mix of fashion trends from different historical periods. Steampunk clothing adds the look of the characters from the 19th century, explorers, soldiers, men, countesses and hookers to, inter alia, punk, modern street fashion, burlesque, goth, fetish, vampire, and frills. Related to the steampunk fashion is the Lolita fashion. Lolita is a youthful expression of girlishness. Although they both trends draw their inspiration from the Victorian era, Lolita is more modest and focused on the purchase of clothing from commercial vendors. Steampunk clothing contrast is traditionally produced from things from thrift stores.

Originally, the little steampunk fashion jewelry, but a few accessories found their way to the style during the 2010s.

In steampunk fashion the corset is more clothing than underwear. Quite remarkably, they have become more or less synonymous with the genre. Corsets in brocade or leather with steel boning inspired a kind of steampunk clothing from the Victorian era.

Brass glasses have become a trademark for steampunk fashion. All brass items are a kind of official standard steampunk accessory. Goggles with intricate patterns on a large, round frames are the most common.

[Image left]Cyber goggles by Poizen Industries. Buy for € 14.99 of see more like this.

Hats in steampunk fashion include all kinds of headgear. Such as fly helmets, bowler hats, pith helmets and pirate bandanas

Steampunk headgear are also inspired by Victorian styles.. Among them the deerstalker hat Sherlock Holmes as illustrated by Sidney Paget in the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Many of the skirt- and dress styles worn in Steampunk fashion is derivative of silhouettes from the Victorian era. Such as: bubble skirts, trumpet skirts, bustle skirts, etc.), but with a sexier, modern twist.
Many of the skirt and dress styles worn in Steampunk fashion are derivative or Victorian era silhouettes (bell skirts, trumpet skirts, bustled skirts, etc.), but with a sexier, modern twist.

Steampunk fashion in popular culture

In 2005, “”Kato”” (Kate Lambert) started the first steampunk clothing “”Steampunk Couture””. This mixed Victorian, post-apocalyptic and tribal influences, as well as sci-fi, shabby chic and Harajuku/Mori girl elements. In 2010 began high fashion lines like Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Chanel and Christian Dior with the introduction of steampunk and neo-Victorian-inspired styles in fashion start and runways. In episode 7 of Lifetime’s “”Project Runway: Under the Gunn”” reality series, contestants were challenged to create avant-garde “”steampunk chic””.

Since the early 2000s, steampunk fashion was commonly used in movies, photography and television. Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and Warehouse 13 are examples of this. Movies like The Golden Compass, Van Helsing, “”Sweeny Todd”” and The Three Musketeers also show elements of steampunk ideas and steampunk fashion. Steampunk fashion is also reflected in the music, like Lindsay Stirling’s music video “”Roundtable Rival””. The members of the alternative band Abney Park perform in steampunk attire.

Crime show “”Castle”” was a steampunk-themed episode in which the title character full steampunk outfit wearing after a meeting with a steampunk society.

America’s Next Top Model treats Steampunk fashion in a 2012 episode in which models compete in a Steampunk themed photo shoot. They pose for a steam train while holding a live owl.

Becky Lynch, a female wrestler, currently working for WWE, using ring attire influenced by steampunk fashion. The most striking is the glasses that she wears in her ?? entrance.

Trends in steampunk fashion

Steampunk fashion has evolved into a culture of imaginative clothes, inspired by the aesthetics of the past. Modern fashion critics have actively tried to deconstruct steampunk as a term and as a philosophy in the context of fashion. Modern trends in steampunk fashion are grouped into historical recreationists and sci-fi cosplayers. Since the first steampunk convention in 2006, “”SalonCon,”” there are a number of similar agreements, where fans dress up as characters from steampunk culture. Modern steampunk clothing is based more on leather and metal, unlike cotton or natural fabrics. More recently steampunk also linked to fetishism, gender queer community and modern paganism.

Steampunk fashion in haute couture


In 2010, the steampunk fashion reached the high-end market. In the following spring brought fashion designer John Galliano elements of style gathered for haute couture show for Christian Dior. (Image 3)

Jean Paul Gaultier showed often corsets of different material in its collections. (Picture 1)

From 2015 steampunk fashion began more influence the prevailing trends.

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