Steam Burns: Steampunk and Lolita

Talking to one of my fellow lolita friends about Steampunk and the crossovers between Steampunk and Lolita – which of course is a hybrid style known as Steampunk Lolita/Steam Lolita.

It’s interesting to see the correlations that occur between the two styles*. Both taking cues from a historical fashion period and remixing it with modern/pseudo-modern textiles, accessoriesand motifs. From what I understand, Steampunk is primarily a literary movement, think Star Wars but downgrade the technology to run on steam (like a Steam Train Engine) but it’s also become a fashion movement Steam punks can range from a mechanics class, pilot/militaryor freelance or pirate, inventors, artisans and aristocrats.  Think Back to the Future part III meets The Fifth Element. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Babylon 5!

The blurb/manifesto on the steampunk lolita community:
This is the journal for people who wish to dress within the Steam Punk and Lolita aesthetic. Here talk will be of technology and the future but from the Victorian perspective and aesthetic.
We shall discuss fashion and literature and how we can impart the sense of wonder and joy we get from the great potential of steam power and Mr Babbage’s Analytical Machine into our clothing and way of life.
We admire buildings not just for their beauty but for their construct, we see machines as objects of art as well as function.
We are the Future Thoughts of a Past Time

 Unlike Gothic Lolita and closer to Classic, the colour pallet tends to go to using brown more heavily than black, browns, metallic colours like copper, brass, gold, navy, off white, white, pearl, Burgundy, dusky pinks and rich moss greens. Depending on which tribe or class of Steampunk the outfit can be more deconstructed or highly tailored like the Elegant Gothic Aristocrat look. Textiles include more leather, chain, steel, copper (wire/cogs), velvet, felt, brocades.

 As for incorporatingthe motifs between the two looks – it’s easy to combine things such keys, crowns, cameos, fler-de-lis, Moitie’s famous Iron-gate/ect Prints with existing steamy motifs like clocks, gears, cogs and Roman Numerals.

 Brand wise – Steam friendly brands include Alice and the Pirates, Innocent World (For their boystyle and colour pallet, making quite a few items in brown), Putumayo (for a punkish edge), Moi Meme Moitie/ Atelier Boz (for aristocratic tailoring). For the most part Steampunk style is heavily dependant on DIY, reconstructing and second hand, as each person likes to have something truly original or unique that sets them apart. Steam reality is a more fluid one – rather than the lolita desire to travel back to a more authetic period – there’s is one of a dynamic past reality primarily that of a psuedo-Victorian era.

The style is facinating on it’s own and it’s melding with Lolita is truly an interesting mix of two similiar fashion cultures and aesthetics – I just wish there were a lot more good image examples that were free to use. If anyone has good Steampunk Lolita images please feel free to show me them!


*Talking about Steampunk as purely a fashion/style aesthetic and not much to do with any inherent lifestyle activities / meet ups / role play / ect


6 Responses to “Steam Burns: Steampunk and Lolita”

  1. erinachan Says:

    Whoa I have never heard of steampunk lolita, so its more of the punkish styles like Putumayo. I was always wondering because those brands didnt seem like they really fit into the gothic lolita realm either. Great blog you have!

  2. margaret Says:

    Hi. Thanks for your views on this. I’m really more into historic fashion and costume than I am into science fiction or revisionist history. (though i do plan to give a nod to Mr. Tesla at dinner this evening). I’m getting bored with the increasingly homogenized Steampunk fashion aesthetic. Does nobody realize that some truly outrageous colored dyes were invented in the late 1800s? Peuce, chartreuse, royal blue, etc.etc. All that brown is getting me down. So, I joined the steam-lolita group because i felt like that would combine my interests. Um, rambling on here, so forgive me. But anyway, I appreciate your insights and I’d love to keep reading your blog.

  3. For this, you are my hero.

  4. As a costumer and seamstress I was struggling with being drawn to both Lolita and Steampunk, wondering where to put my time and energy in trying to create good pieces. I’m glad to hear some encouragement for combining them. Hopefully I’ll create something unique that others will enjoy–really nice blog, BTW. :)

  5. Steam punk can be basicly described as a movement/feeling based on “retro future”. The name Steampunk is because most things in the stories from where this movement originated, were running on steam, wich was back then, the energy source of the future.
    The best example is probably Jules Verne. Steampunk is based on stories from a time when people thought everything was possible. The whole world was still open and fairly undiscovered. People dreamt about shooting rockets to the moon out of huge canons. Robots would be running on coals. And so on. Think crazy-but-brilliant inventors who make with huge winged airships out of copper nails, sails and chainweels. Like the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or the flying steam train from Back to the Future. Or more Jules Verne: The revolutionair submarine the Nautulus.
    This nostalgic feeling of being an inventor or explorer, and travelling the world for unknown places, not really to find anything, but just for the journey… That’s steampunk.

  6. Ow, here are some pictures of people combining lolita and steampunk, by the way (not all of them are equally smooth mixed)…

    This is actually a steampunk dress up game and not very lolita, but it’s the most beautful dress up game i’ve ever seen, so i posted it anyway:

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