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What is Steampunk

December 22, 2014

For those of you who already know, look away, we’ll get to you later. For now, for those of you who don’t know, here’s a swift guide to get us in the mood…What is steampunk and why should we care?Is it fetish? Is it Goth? Is it Victorian fancy dress? Is it science fiction?

What is Steampunk

What is Steampunk-Let’s look at the evidence

Steampunk on the surface seems quite complicated and has a finger in every pie, be it engineering, fashion or music. There’s a combination of British and American influences ranging from Victoriana to the Wild West. It’s taking little bits of everything and making it into one whole. A modification of an already existing idea, or a whole new creation from old parts. You can see why it’s so easy to become confused about What is Steampunk.


It may be a set of ideas then, a philosophy as well as a way of dressing, even a lifestyle that’s emulated by steampunk enthusiasts.

Confused about What is Steampunk?

It can encompass science fiction, with its emphasis being the industrial revolution of the 19th century, representing the steam part, and punk the part that rebels against it. There are many disagreements of what exactly it is, because on top of that, we have a little of the American Wild West thrown in.

A little spiritual feeling…

The supernatural can be included, according to some, and if this is a genre which emulates the 19th century then the supernatural would be an integral part of it.


For some it’s the supernatural without the technology and for others, it’s later than the 19th century. It can even be from another world entirely with Victorian technology and a little of the Wild West thrown in (again). Are you with me so far?


Keep in mind a sprinkling of erotica, young adult fiction and romance. There are games and movies too that capture the steampunk theme, as well as fiction, there are even musicals.

Gadgets etc

There are gadgets that people actually make from the imagination, modern 21st century gadgets which are taken and reinvented into something along the lines of steampunk, hence the modification of already existing ideas and items. Is it Goth then? Well according to one person, it would be, but without the predominance of black.


Clothing, jewellery and makeup are all part of an authentic steampunk look and it’s important to get a full grasp of what it is before trying to emulate the style. If you don’t understand it, then how can you dress like you know what it is?

Steampunk philosophy

The philosophy embraces the future as well as creativity and respecting the past. It romanticizes the Victorian period (and not to everyone’s liking) and looks optimistically to what the future can bring.


So there you have it – steampunk and all its philosophies, dress, ideas, literature and film. But is that it? If you’re going to start embracing the steampunk aesthetic – do we need to know more before we sprint to the nearest vintage store?

Steampunk fashion – what is it?

My immediate thought is – futuristic Victoriana with a hint of the Wild West with a little contemporary twist. I don’t think I’m far wrong…

“Steampunk fashion, at its heart, is based on the Victorian style aesthetic”



Wiki isn’t always reliable – but it seems I’m not far from the steampunk aesthetic when it comes to fashion.


And that of course is where we’ll leave it. In our next installment – let’s take a deeper look at the steampunk style and how you should dress – if you feel a sudden nostalgic yearning for the steampunk look.