The Steampunk Goth

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“This is what happens when Goth’s discover brown”

A common joke online. Steampunk is an instantly recognisable style. There is no mistaking a Steampunk Goth when you see one.

Steampunk goths are those which, you guessed it, wear a lot of brown. In fact, maybe some of them would omit the “Goth” part out of the classification system we are using for this page, and just simply refer to themselves as members of the Steampunk community.

However, if you head to any gothic festival, you are pretty much sure to come across the Steampunk Goth.

A reasonably new emergency on the gothic scene, Steampunk Goths have very little to do with punk (at least, not any more than other groups of goths). Instead, Steampunk can be seen as a close relative to the Rivet Head Goth. They focus on the ideas that adding more real accessories to an appearance creates a great look and aesthetic.

As well as seeing Steampunk Goths art many usual goth events, you will also see them at their own, specialised genre events. Seeing a group of Steampunk Goths goths is a glorious scene to behold. If you thought that goths try to outdo themselves with their outfits, you haven’t seen anything till you’ve seen a gathering of Steampunk people.

It might also be that a lot of the general public see Steampunk as being more popular currently than general Goth. This is because they are one of the groups that get a lot of media attention. Also, because of their relative newness, Steampunk Goths, and anyone else who follows the Steampunk way of life, are also quite a new and exciting novelty for the media. This is in contrast to the all black wearing goth, which have been talked about the media extensively.

Also, additionally, because of the brown, and the joy that Steampunk enthusiasts tend to have over their chosen classification, a common conception (and a positive one at that!) is that Steampunk people are a lot more approachable and friendly than other types of goth.

So what makes Steampunk Goths stand out so much? Well…

Fashion of Steampunk Goth

Already mentioned, a lot of brown hues are used within the general Steampunk look. Brown and bronze are pretty much the bulk of a Steampunk outfit.

Steampunk borrows very heavily from the victorian and Edwardian eras of history. However, the unique twist comes from the technology motives. In some ways, Steampunk is what a Cybergoth would be if they were living in the victorian times. A large part of the Steampunk fashion incorporates what modern day technology would be like if it was used in these times.

So, to take an example. Imagine the most victorian of all male clothing. The Top Hat. What someone creating a Steampunk outfit might do is take a black top hat, paint it bronze, and add brass and gold gears to it.

It’s also not uncommon to see Steampunk Goths walking around with painted super soakers. These, done in silver and brass hues, will also have the customary gears and cogs placed on them.

For the masculine Steampunk fashion, there is a heavy focus on also looking smart. Waistcoats, ties, and gold dangling pocket watches are key items in many of these Steampunk owners outfit.

For feminine fashion, long ruffle skirts and tight, constricting corsets are commonly used.

Both genders can also enjoy one of, potentially, greatest things about Steampunk outfits. Pockets, bags, and straps are not frowned upon at all. It is not unusual to see someone with leg holsters, a side bag, and a slung back backpack.

Another key feature of the steampunk look is the goggles. Worn at the top of the head, Googles give off the appearance of an Airship Pirate. This might be another way of describing the Steampunk look. Imagine what a victorian era Zeppelin pirate might look like.

Music of Steampunk Goth

One of the key, important bands for many Steampunk people is Abney Park. They have taken the steampunk style and incorporated into everything they do. The outfits are right on point and are in fact a great style guide to steampunk. Even their instruments have been outfitted in a steampunk style. Even the microphones.

Of course, their songs also follow along with the Steampunk aesthetic. When they have titles including “Airship Pirate”, “Building Steam” and hell, even “Steampunk Revolution”, they are pretty much the ultimate Steampunk band.

That’s not to say there aren’t many others who exist in this space. Another large, steampunk heavy band is that of the Unextraordinary Gentlemen. Their music, however, is a lot darker than that of Abney Park. Although there is still a lot of fun beats, there is a lot of lyrical dissonance in all of their songs.

And straddling the line between dark horror and hilarious comedy is the band Steam Powered Giraffe, with their painted faces, completely varied songs, and large backstory.

In fact, this is one interesting thing about most Steampunk bands. There tends to be a large fictional universe around them, with the band members acting as characters. Fictional pasts, character motivations, and concept albums are incredibly rife in the genre.

Steampunk music makes use of a wide range of instruments, going from modern synths to old classic violins. Trumpets are also a lot more common than in other genres of music, as seen with the Steampunk band Kynoll and their Bunkerparty song.

Inspiration tends to come from folk songs, especially Irish ones. And of course, the typical music that would be played at any old victorian gathering. When Steampunk music is playing, you can expect a lot of people doing Irish jigs, or victorian style ballroom dancing.

Other Interests of Steampunk Goths

With a lot of their aesthetic coming from the victorian era, a lot of Steampunk goths are interested in history, particularly this area. You can expect those within the steampunk culture to have an impressive array of knowledge on these features.

Another additional interest tends to be with tinkering. Give a Steampunk Goth a broken gramophone, and come back three days later to find out that they have completely restored it. Give them a simple children’s toy? They will have bronzed, silvered and golded it and have created an amazing steampunk creation.

People in the steampunk culture also tend to be collectors. Part of this is so that they always have enough raw materials around to create something new. However, another part of it is there is a love in the culture of turning things that might be considered ‘junk’ by other people into something that is either beneficial, useful, aesthetically pleasing, or all three.

When reading books, playing videogames, or watching things, Steampunk Goths aren’t spoiled for choice at all. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are authors who are commonly considered to be the grandfathers of the steampunk movement. Well known movies that include steampunk elements include Wild Wild West, The Time Machine, and Disney’s Treasure Planet. Videogame Wise? Bioshock, the Theif series, and Dishonored all make heavy usage of steampunk style aesthetic, themes, and ideas.

Steampunks also tend to enter into the creative professions, or dream of one day being able to (and are likely to do it). This isn’t all that surprising with the amount of skill that typically goes into the typical Steampunk person’s passions and hobbies.

With this tinkering, creative mindset, people within the steampunk culture also very much how to have a good time, wherever it be with friends, or simply sitting at home while working on their latest pet project. If you know a local Steampunk person, go ahead and make friends with them. You will be blown away at their creativity, their passion, and their steam fueled fire, at every moment.

(Header Image By Bryan Ledgard (Own work) [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr).

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