Steampunk: Mixing Fantasy and Fashion

Steampunk Fashion: Emily Marshall from Xpress Magazine on Vimeo.

By Lina Abascal


Nestled in the industrial warehouses of the South of Market, is a subculture that combines elements of the past with pieces from a fantasy of the future. A regular meeting place for participants of the Steampunk scene is the dance class and party, Alt.Dance, at DanzHaus dance studio. The weekly lesson starts with a beginners dance lesson that combines classic swing with futuristic goth and electronic music – a perfect fusion of past and present genres cohesive with Steampunk style.

Unlike other self-hating subcultures, many people are quick to identify as a Steampunk. Their unique style mixes items from the past such as monocles, top hats, corsets, and pocket watches with futuristic and Burning Man inspired fantasy items such as armor, goggles, and clockwork and gears. Many of the attendees of Alt.Dance claim to have handmade their clothes or gone to great lengths to find their perfect Steampunk pieces.

Steampunk is more than a style of dress. It reaches out to live action role playing, literature, and even music. Large DIY object fairs, conventions, and LARPing events are held nationwide for Steampunks, including Bay Area favorite, Clockwork Alchemy, which happens over Memorial Day weekend.

A few attendees of Alt.Dance and Bay Area Steampunks weigh in on their lifestyle and fashion.