m. klara

Something to Choo-Choo On
May 9, 2009, 7:31 am
Filed under: Subcultures | Tags: ,

I’ve always had a weird fascination for trains. And not like, Amtrack or anything. Old steam trains from back in the day. So when Wayne suggested that we take our engagement photo shoot at a train track, I almost creamed my pants.

This is why I’m marrying the guy.

Anyway, his epiphany led me to a mad hunt for examples of “steampunk” fashion. I had just read about a steampunk-themed wedding on Offbeat Bride and was immediately intrigued. To be honest, I’m still not sure what it is except that it reminds me of people riding steam engines in like, the 1920’s or something.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

This man is just beautiful.


I’ve always been intrigued by alternative genres of style, but none have really connected with me. I think they were either too out there or too “bright” or too “dark.” For now, it appears that steampunk is a nice medium.

I downloaded a bunch of pictures off this livejournal thread so I can show Wayne examples of how steampunk style looks like. Then we can try to incorporate elements of it into our style for the photoshoot. I was extremely exhilirated when Wayne first pitched the idea to me (I still get a little thrill down my spine when I think about it) for a couple reasons: 1) not sure how our fairly traditional Asian families will react to pictures of their children dressed in costume and 2) I’ve always wanted to do a photo shoot that involved costumes and dressing up!!

I did a little research on steampunk and found that it’s a derivative of subcultures such as Lolita fashion and romantic goth. It’s fairly new, having picked up steam (haha, couldn’t resist!) in the late 80’s. As a sci-fi/fantasy genre, steampunk is a cross between romance and steam-powered technology of the Victorian era. Like other subcultures such as cyberpunk, steampunk is anti-establishment. But in contrast, it takes a more optimistic point of view towards human potential.

In a way, this is very reflective of Wayne and I. As psychologists, it’s easy to become jaded by humans suffering at the hands of our government and just social inequalities in general, but I think we’re still early enough in our career where we still maintain hope for humankind.

On a grander scale, I like to view the rise of steampunk as a testament to the current changes in our society, particularly American society. Yes, we still have much to accomplish in terms of social justice and even economic growth. But it’s almost as though we have to set ourselves back a little just so we can begin anew, just like steampunk reverts back to a time when technology was becoming more and more industrialized. It’s almost like going back to a simpler time, but perhaps it’s also a vision of another opportunity to try things differently.

Stylistically, the pictures I’ve viewed have more earthy, neutral tones. Personally, I’ve always steered more towards neutral colors anyway, but nothing gothic unless it’s Halloween. Even though it was hotter than hell these past couple days, I still ventured out of the apartment in belted black dresses. I wish I had the patience to put together an awesome outfit like the ones above, but alas, I’m so lazy when it comes to everyday wear. Maybe that’s why I like playing dress-up so much; cuz I feel more motivated to put an effort into the details.

Due to recent events, I wonder if I’ve been appropriating different styles and genres just cuz it’s “cool.” But looking back on my stylistic tastes and interests, I’ve always been interested in period costumes, just with a more modern, sensual twist like using corsets, feathers, birdcage veils and the like. But because I know steampunk is also a lifestyle, I tend to worry about offending others who practice the lifestyle.

It’s something I wrestle with. It might be good for me to separate the two: fashion versus lifestyle. Fashionably speaking, I connect with steampunk much more than I do with the lifestyle, though that may be up for debate as well. That’s what I love about style, though. There’s always room to be creative and incorporate your own unique take on things.