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Steampunk fashion runs the gamut from the purely Victorian to the raggedy post-apocalyptic. Steampunk fashion draws inspiration from many modes, it is usually (but not exclusively) constructed on a 19th Century base and weaves in cultural threads from around the world and throughout time.

Steampunk Stahp! Or the Appropriation of Prada

Numi Prasarn is an artist, producer, and maker who has cut her teeth on a multitude of mediums and roles in the fashion and photography industries. Obsessed with fashion theory and with creating avenues for people to gain aesthetic control of their lives, Numi has turned to writing in places like Coilhouse and Pork Pie Hatters (and now Steampunk Workshop) to get her ideas on style and culture out.

A couple of days ago I tweeted a mini rant about people tying Prada's Fall 2012 Menswear collection to the Steampunk movement. It went a little something like this (Read bottom to top):

Twitter rant...

I figured it was time to stop just complaining and start some conversations... (Read More)

Steampunk Couture Hot on the Runway (and We're Not Talking Airships)

Here at The Steampunk Workshop we are in the process of re-vamping our site to focus more on feature articles rather than short blog posts. In addition We're seeking writers to help us cover topics that we're interested in but know little about. Below is the first of those articles from Cicatrix13!  -- Jake

Cicatrix13 is freelance writer and blogger.  She specializes in bringing an edgy perspective to political, Steampunk, and Dark Poetry pieces.  Her work has been published on websites such as HiveTimes.org.uk and The Steampunk Workshop.

Prada, Versace, Calvin Klein, these are iconic names in the industry of high fashion. They call to mind the recent fashion week grandeur in New York on the heels of Milan's fashion week earlier this year.  The fashion world is bustling with reviews and critiques of the lines exhibited by all the giants in the fashion world.  Purchasers are gearing up to stock their stores, such as Nordstrom’s and Saks with the latest styles that have their consumers abuzz.  On every runway worldwide, designers are showcasing the ever-increasing popularity of once obscure Steampunk Couture.

. . .

Strange Hours Atelier

Strange Hours Atelier One of the things that I like most about going to Steampunk events is that I get to meet people that I've known online for years--in person for the first time.

Earlier this year the city of Waltham, Massachusetts hosted The Interntional Steampunk City event. This was a city-wide celebration of everything Steampunk to benefit The Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation

But a highlight of this event for me was getting to meet Chronographia von Strangehours of Strange Hours Atelier.  Chronographia brought with her some of the most amazing hats and we had a nice time hanging out and talking about all snd sundry, but mostly Doctor Who which turns out to be a shared interest!

Click through for a gallery of awesome hats!

A Scarf a Day!

Hey y'all! SPWS' own Meredith Scheff is doing a "Scarf-a-Day" project that you should definitely check-out!

Starting january 1, 2011, I will make one scarf a day each day in the month. I'll be using everything from traditional techniques and materials to the experimental, the new, the weird, the possibly edible. At the end of the month there will be an art show and interactive scarf making session.

Why a scarf a day? I love the idea of wearable art, silly but functional. I'm also really inspired by the works that have come out of the various [ ]-a-day projects- they push you to your limits and make you think of things you never would otherwise. Jewelry is OK for some, but for me, personal adornment is best when it's warm and fuzzy. And silly. And fun. Or weird.

This project is the recipient of an Awesome Foundation grant, but I need help to really pull this off with style. I'll be using all sorts of tech and materials- laser cutters, cnc machines, soft circuit tech, anything I can get my hands on!

I'll also be blogging the heck out of the project at www.ladycartoonist.com

Sub-culture friendly Gender Playful Marketplace


UPDATED: Donate now at http://genderplayful.tumblr.com/ to get this off the ground!

One of the really wonderful things about Steampunk is that it, more than any other sub-culture, seems to want to teach us things. I have always been very interested in the technology of the 19th Century, it's been a passion since a very young age. this passion is certainly part of what got me interested in Steampunk in the first place. However, as I delved deeper into the history of technology I got really interested in other aspects of how the world changed during the Industrial Revolution.

In particular I became interested in the Women's Movement, which began in the late 19th century, feminism, and gender theory. Chasing down this rabbit hole has lead me to books like Marilyn French's Beyond Power, which is currently blowing my mind and has the feel of one of those books that forever changes to way you view the world. I also started to cultivate an interest in fashion which friend and co-editor Libby Bulloff has mercilessly encouraged.

Recently, Libby and I presented a panel at SteamCon II in Seattle we called "Queering Steampunk Fashion."  For some time now Libby and I have been interested in Steampunk garb that is fashion rather than costume. Clothes that you can wear outside of the convention environment but are still clearly transgressive and something other than a pure affectation of Victorian wear. Since the 19th century was a period in time where fashion became particularly rigid for both men and women, and since what we do in Steampunk is joyfully rip things out of context and re-mix them to our own desire, queering Steampunk fashion seemed like a no brainer. You can read all about our presentation here.

And that brings me to the subject of today's post. One of the points that Libby and I tried to get across in our presentation is that gender-bending fashion and re-mixing gender-typed garments presents a great opportunity in Steampunk fashion and personal expression as well. As Libby puts it: "Androgyny should be a gender Smörgåsbord not an absence of gender" which is why we are both excited about this new project from GenderFork creator Sarah Dopp. Please watch the video and click through and help her out if you're excited by it too.



Open Source Jewelry - Improbablecog

Noah has posted an update at Kickstarter with upgraded rewards for contributors!

Good friend and fellow tribesman Noah Beasley is joining the Open Source commerce fray, offering up some of his most popular designs.

[My] Items are created in a computer with modeling software, and then converted from bits to atoms using 3D printing technologies. By using this method, an item can be replicated a thousand times, or only once. There are no molds, there is no casting, there are only robots building each item from the physical pixels of the material required.

This means these things made of matter are not much different than any other piece of intellectual property such as music, movies, or software.

Click through to read more and support Noah's Kickstarter Project - I'm in! - Jake

Lastwear Kickstarter Project needs your support

I'm backing these folks and you should too!

"Because we support maker culture, we will release our production patterns on our site for download so that people can sew their own versions of our garments. In addition, we will be documenting our progress so that others can learn from our mistakes and improve on the model.

We want to prove that the current paradigm of competition in business is not the only way to make a living. We believe that small businesses can thrive through collaboration and resource sharing . . ."

Click though and pledge to support these fine folks, I truly believe they are onto something and that it is something worth supporting! - Jake

The North Skirt

It's finally finished, and that means, I finally get to show it to you. The NorthSkirt is a soft circuit project that incorporates my redesigned flexible soft-circuit boards (now, StarBoards), a hacked NorthPaw kit, and a strong desire to have a soft-circuit project actually DO something.

What does it do? It points north, silly.

This post is part 1 of 2- the next one I'll have a really exciting announcement about StarBoards. Way more info after the cut...

The Future of SteamPunk Fashion -- SteamPunk Magazine #7

Our own Libby Bulloff has a wonderful article in the current issue of SteamPunk Magazine. Libby makes the case for what needs to happen for Steampunk to become a sustainable style rather than mere and fleeting fashion.

Within, she examines current trends in Steampunk dress and warns that:

We’re no better than our wealthy, trendy, hipster counterparts when we cease the continuous metamorphosis of our look, when we won’t fearlessly model our style at our desk jobs . . . 

I think she hits the nail on the head.

SteamPunk Magazine is available in print through Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness in the Americas and Vagrants Among Ruins for the rest of the world, and can also be downloaded for free from their downloads page.  Available for the first time is an iPhone/eReader version for 1£. This is the version I bought and I love having it on my phone. 

Also featured in this issue are pieces by Jaymee Goh of Silver Goggles and Ay-leen The Peacemaker of Beyond Victoriana who did me the great honor of inviting me to sit on their Social Issues in Steampunk Roundtable panel at the upcoming Steampunk World's Fair!

1892 repro shoes

The always awesome Doctor Popular writes:

Hey Jake,

I believe you know about my recent sponsorship deal with Colchester Rubber Co. If not, you can read about it here http://www.docpop.org/2010/03/29/doc-pops-got-sole.html

They are extending their $18.92 sale for one more day and getting rid of the "email us to get a promo code" thing. So until 11:59 pm April 1st you can still buy a pair of shoes for the "Doc Pop discount". I noticed a couple folks commenting that these shoes could be easily modded to fit a steampunk aesthetic, so I thought I'd drop you a line in case you wanted to mention the deal on y'r bloghole. I'll also be donating my proceeds for the shoes sold to a local non-profit.

Hope y'r swell,

-Doctor Popular   [Thanks Doc! Hope to see you again soon at Maker Faire! -Jake]

These Shoes Rule - for the Ladies

Someone once told me that the first things people look at when they meet you are your shoes and your hands. It's very easy to tell if someone uses their hands to make things as they tend to have callouses, weathered skin, and may have curious stains or broken nails. Shoe choice reads just as clearly--do your shoes match your outfit? Are they stylish and functional? Are they impractical, well-designed, worn out, or coated in dust from the workshop?

I personally love how shoes complete an outfit, and I have a special lust for vintage-influenced footwear, both practical and whimsical. It can be very difficult to acquire antique footwear that fits a modern foot--our predecessors often had shorter, narrower feet--or that hasn't been worn to death. I am fortunate enough to own a pair of 1930s oxfords that fit my slender feet, a set of antique leather roller skates, and some killer scarlet pointy-toed punk boots from back in the day. However, if you're not so lucky as to have a real vintage shoe collection, lots of modern shoes still nod at the past in their design (and fit bigger feet). There is nothing quite like the curve of a Louis heel, mmhmm.

Here's a selection of shoes (ranging from totally casual to super decadent) for the ladies I've found in scouring the interwebs that all have vintage flair. I'll be doing a similar post for you gentleman types, never you fear. :) And hey, not all of these are brown and clunky! Yay! Let's get some SHOES!

Cheap and Easy Fabric Dye From Natural Sources

One of the ways I upcycle old, worn garments is to dye them. Stained, stretched-out beaters, ratty petticoats, and once-white tuxedo shirts with dingy collars enshroud themselves in new life when dropped into a steaming bucket of color. As my best friend is a pedigreed textiles artist, I've spent many a night in a professional dye lab, using bromine and other harsh chemicals to deposit tint onto wool, but I feel that the most satisfying way to dye fabric is to use what is essentially garbage. I speak of items you're probably going to toss or compost anyway, like yellow onion skins, beet tops, yesterday's Earl Grey bag, or that rusting tin of turmeric you bought eons ago for Indian cooking (but instead forgot in the back of the cabinet). Natural dye has been used to color fabric for 4,500 years, and was even popular amongst German soldiers in World War II due to broken trade routes.1

Yr Doin' It Right #3 - Sweep

As seen this morning via the oddity sandwich that is Google Buzz/riotclitshave:

Model: Ulorin Vex
Photographer: Allan Amato

This is definitely Doin' It Right [TM]. Heck yes.

Etsy Fashion Finds #1

Etsy.com is indubitably Mecca for handmade steampunk clothing. Here are a few awesome pieces I dug up this morning. If you have any favorite Etsy sellers or items, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Read on for details!

Thank you.

Quaintrelles, Dandies, and Flâneurs #3


Back with another round of street fashion and casual, wearable steampunk! This week's featured soul is writer and critic Jessica Lawson. I stayed at her current residence in San Francisco last week as I toured with The Ghosts Project, and I was pleasantly surprised when she emerged in the following get-up. Jessica is employed as a teacher at the University of Iowa, and her clothing choices prove that one can be professional and fashion forward simultaneously.

We took these images outside Macky Hall on the California College of the Arts campus, Oakland, CA. Thank you to Jessica for posing for me and for letting me borrow her camera. I thought I'd be clever and leave my SLR at home for a change, but it seems I can't escape playing photog, ever. :) Read on for outfit details!


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