WATCH: Steampunk Should Be Fashion's (Alternate) Future

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By: Austin De Rubira

As another season of Fashion Weeks came to a close this week in Paris, I was once again disappointed by the industry's vision of haute couture. I, for one, am not looking forward to a future populated by raccoon-eyed waifs bedecked in frilly pantsuits.

Luckily, there's an alternate vision, one that's been getting more and more attention recently. It's called Steampunk, and it's a mash-up of the best of the old and the new. In this alternate future, you might see, for instance, a mustachioed man sporting a Victorian-inspired trench coat and top hat, with a laser gun tucked into his belt. Women might feel comfortable wearing Edwardian-era burlesque outfits and a pilot's cap and goggles (a la Amelia Earhart), as they ride around town on a steam-powered scooter.

For a primer on the Steampunk fashion movement and lifestyle, and how its aesthetic has already inspired music, literature and movies, check out this audio slideshow I produced after attending last year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif.


The Milan of the Steampunk fashion world has got to be the San Francisco Bay Area, home of an unusually high concentration of techies and do-it-yourselfers. This weekend in the East Bay town of Emeryville, steampunks will hold their own mini Fashion Week, called the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition. The crew from the Neverwas Haul, a Victorian house on wheels featured in the slideshow, is expected to attend. Also on the program is a costume competition, in which judges will award "Evil Geniuses" and "Time Travelers" for their incorporation of vintage clothing and working wearable gadgetry.

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