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What on earth is Steampunk anyway

Considering I write a fancy dress blog I am a bit ashamed to admit that until recently I didn’t really know what ‘steampunk’ was. Sure I’d heard the word in connection to quirky bands and alternative events, but I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Isn’t it just like gothic, but, umm, brown?! After a good bit of old fashioned googling, watching YouTube videos and reading a few pulp novels the world of steampunk is winning me over. I’m sure the Clockwork Underworld event will be an eye opener. Maybe you just have to be there?!‘Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner. It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.’
So, if I understand correctly the gist is that steampunk is an alternative (usually) Victorian era where steam power is still going strong and crazy inventors have been busy making all kinds of ‘modern’ gadgets, hence all the clockwork gears, zeppelins, mechanical limbs and weapons and the like. Think HG Wells and Jules Verne!What is the deal with that signature steampunk accessory, the goggles? I hear you ask. Why do so many steamers wear them? According to this forum, the iconic goggles represent anything from the industrialised nature of the steampunk universe and the factory jobs that most people would have, to eye safety for airship travel and protection from ray guns…no wonder they are so popular!It gets a bit more complicated – steampunk is divided into different genres and eras. There’s Western steampunk, like in the movie ‘Wild Wild West’, and Industrial/Modern steampunk which evokes the eras around the World Wars, an aesthetic summed up really well in the film ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’. It seems you can add steampunk to almost any era or costume if you think about it!
Steampunk has a huge fan base and a vibrant and active online community of folk who come up with some really original and fantastical costumes, alter egos and stories. I think it’s this DIY attitude and creative streak that has really won me over!
This weekend I’ve been inspired to get sewing and work on my own steampunk outfit. I’m going to combine one of my favourite past costumes, Poison Ivy, with inspiration from this pretty burlesque-ish costume I found on Etsy. My alter-ego will be an off duty steampunk botanist I guess! I’m going to use a black velvet corset I already have, a top hat with some added flourishes and make myself a bustle skirt and shrug

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