A few weeks ago, over some fine whiskey, Jake von Slatt asked me if I would be interested in writing for Steampunk Workshop on the topic of fashion trends within the genre. Part of me jumped for joy at another opportunity to collaborate with Jake…and admittedly, a voice in my subconscious whined “What’s left to talk about steampunk fashion? It’s been at the summit of the internet zeitgeist for years, it’s been done to death with a gaggle of goggles and shades of sepia, and it’s mainstreamed.”
However, these reasons are exactly why I do have a lot of things to say about steam fashion. While it has popularized to the point of being represented at cons and clubs, and while it has appeared this week (albeit unnamed as such) in the New York Times, steampunk has not become highly visible as a common street fashion trend. Or, if it has become a fashion trend, it hasn’t yet entirely metamorphosed into a functional, sustainable style. Fashion lasts a season (if that); style is internal, eternal, and transcends time. Sound familiar?
In yesterday’s post, Jake quoted the author of the NY Times article, David Colman, saying “There are all kinds of societies that are about dressing up in period costume and then going back to your oversize jeans the next day,” he said. “This is about style as a way of being.” [emphasis Jake’s] And this very style is precisely what I intend to talk about in my posts here. I want to talk about a wider vintage influence on modern style, not just bastardized Victoriana. I want to avoid things already labeled with the dreaded s-word or coated in functionless gears. I want to talk about DIY and bespoke, as well as off-the-rack. I want to talk about attainable and affordable garments that can be acquired for a plethora of body types and sizes and genders, not just what’s chic for a femme in size 0 with the funds to buy couture. I want to talk about clothing that can be worn to work, not just to parties or LARPs. I want to talk about color, not just brown and cream. And, I want to talk about the notion of accessorizing both yourself and your surroundings in a way that makes you feel like you’re living the dream.
Oh, and just to spite Mister Colman, I want to make certain he understands, very clearly, that we are not hipsters.
Who am I to open this discussion? My name is Libby Bulloff, and I’m no fashionista. I’m a photographer in Seattle. I take brightly-colored portraits of wonderful people from a variety of subcultures. I also contribute to Steampunk Magazine, and I have my own project blog called Exoskeleton Cabaret.
Please let me know in the comments if there’s a specific subject you’d like to see covered in future posts, or say hello! Thanks to Jake for adding me to the Steampunk Workshop family.
[Photo by Libby Bulloff of Finn von Claret and David S Dowling in Gasworks Park, Seattle.]