Steampunk Is Vintage – Part 1

Vintage itself is actually a very broad term. Though it may be easy to distinguish vintage from contemporary, the boundaries are more blurred when vintage sits alongside something not so modern. However, the vintage aesthetic itself is well loved by many people around the globe. Whether it conjures up genuine nostalgia or simply makes people think about a simpler time, the old-timey look of vintage really works for some people. One of the more modern cultural cliques that celebrate all things vintage is Steampunk.

If you don’t know what steampunk is, it doesn’t mean you haven’t come across it. Today this recognisable sub genre of science fiction fantasy is making its way into almost every art form. Cosplay is a huge part of the movement as people use their skills to create new Steampunk outfits and gadgets that fit into theme. You can probably recognise someone wearing a steampunk outfit by their accessories, which are made to look highly complex, but with out of date technology. Cogs and piping (similar to steam systems) are a dead giveaway, as are circular safety goggles. Many of the settings for narratives that are woven around this movement are from the 19th century meaning the contents can’t be confused with styles that are more accurately retro. Though the stories that have been spun out of many Steampunk fictions may not be to the taste of those who are fond of fantasy fiction, the look and style of the movement are unquestionably vintage. Here are just some of the elements that help create the vintage feel that Steampunk wears on its sleeve.


Although the name steampunk was more of a spin on the term cyberpunk, another subculture based in a much more futuristic urban environment, steam does come into play often. Though it wouldn’t be particularly safe for people to walk around in steam powered suits (though this isn’t out of the question for some cosplayers), the environments that make up the backdrops for comics, films or even just the photos that fans take can often include steam. The world which steampunk enthusiasts put themselves into is one where the historical invention of the steam engine is pretty much the most groundbreaking piece of technology around. Thus the equipment they use is rarely more advanced than a chimney essentially.


Steam technology required a lot of metal as you probably know, but this isn’t necessarily why steampunk lovers wear so much of it. The metals they choose to wear do as much for their functionality as they do for very easily placing their look as old. Many retro-futuristic works envisioned a future where the world was covered in chrome, this is not what steampunk looks like. Heavily adorned in bronzed metals, brass and unpolished gold, the look of steampunk tech is classic. Though the actual machinery, cogs and other non functional items may look like the inner workings of several clocks, the actual metals look aged, keeping the steampunk vintage aesthetic heavily intact.


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