by Katherine Reilly
Are you a Victorian-era enthusiast? Do you feel overwhelmed when coming across inventions which are out of the ordinary? How about a sense of dress, which is inspired by a romantic era of history, albeit at the same time heavily influenced by technological advancements and elements of science fiction? Caught your attention yet?
Imagine a world where technology took a different turn, thanks to the incorporation of steam power, while boasting an industrialized aesthetic, most often than not, garmented with leather apparel, gears and goggles. Welcome to the world of Steampunk, a Victorian era aesthetic, that is inspired by the industrial period of the 19th century. Steampunk uses existing technology and structure to create an even more advanced 19th century, often complemented by Victorian inventions such as steam powered aircraft and computers.
Steampunk’s rudimentary inspirations go all the way back to 19th century Victorian writers, such as Jules Verne (author of The Steam Punk House) and H.G. Wells (author of The Time Machine). Their stories of steam-powered innovations and Victorian-age settings have inspired, an aesthetically induced and fantasy driven alternate history in which the technology of the Victorian age has surpassed that of the modern era.
It is difficult to distinguish exactly where the first authors truly got their inspiration from. What is known, however, is that they were clearly inspired by the Victorian Age (1837-1901). The Steampunk movement delves into the era of Victorian England and assumes what the world would be like today had steam power overwhelmed modern technology.
Steampunk has influenced all aspects of society today including, but not limited to, clothing, literature, the entertainment industry and most importantly, a nostalgia instilled within us for the less troubling times of old. One might call it an escape from reality, however, Steampunk has left its distinct feel on today’s world through its everlasting mark on our imagination and the constant reminder that we choose who we desire to be.
As seen in films such as ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ – the late Sean Connery’s final big screen appearance – and written works of art such as Jules Verne’s ‘20.000 Leagues Under the Sea’, Steampunk has affected culture in more ways than imaginable. In the aforementioned 1870 novel, one would find himself enthralled upon reading the breathtaking scene of the submarine Nautilus, mastered by Captain Nemo, as it is attacked by a sea creature and the technological means the protagonists would wield in an attempt to defeat it. It is thanks to literature such as this, that people find inspiration in Steampunk as they pursue to develop technological innovations which would ordinarily be disregarded as unfeasible.
As previously mentioned, clothing incorporates elements of Steampunk attire as well as decorative aesthetics found in homes today. It gives dedicated followers a conduit to live out their creativity within the confines of the Victorian Era, mechanical craftsmanship, Tesla electrical technology, and steam engine design. The hues are most often brown, black, brass & tan, like the clothes prominently worn by people in old worn out photos. Goggles and gears are a staple of Steampunk, symbolizing its uniqueness not only in concept but in mannerism as it expresses distinctiveness from what is viewed upon as the norm. Some say steampunk fashion will be the next upcoming rage.
On a personal note, when proposed I model for such a concept, I felt more than eager to participate in such an endeavor. Not only did I enjoy working on this wonderful project, but I myself too became a Steampunk enthusiast. Life is a sum of experiences and this is one I am most grateful for.
Steampunk is the means to inspiration, innovation, reminiscence while also instilling unconditional love for times long gone. The incorporated elements of science fiction along with its historical roots are kept alive within our hearts, as it constantly influences us today.
Just remember… keep dreaming, be yourself, and never forget to inspire!