Why do steampunkers wear goggles you may ask? Great question! Believe it or not, steampunk goggles actually hold a more functional purpose than just acting as a fashion statement. Steampunk originated during the steam age where heavy industry was king. Working in a factory, where owning a pair of goggles was essentially mandatory, was standard for those who were not wealthy or were extremely poor. When working around steam engines, you learn to love your eye gear. The steam industries became iconic in that steampunk takes aristocracy and other occupations into account. Goggles became an icon for that era.
Steampunk Goggles…for what?
Factory work was not the only place where goggles came in handy. Think about riding on a dirigible or airship. Would you be able to keep your eyes open while traveling at such speed? Heavens no! What about protecting you eyes from photon exposure from time traveling? Of course not! What about spitting cobras, ray guns, change winds during time travel, actinic glare from metalworking, ectoplasmic observations or sandstorms on Mars? Egads!
Forget about it! Goggles seem like a pretty smart investment, eh?
Think of goggles as the necktie of the steampunk world. Whether you’re working on a train, a musician, or a scientist traveling through time, goggles act as a tribute to those who came before you. In any way, goggles are a part of the steampunk style. Just as a cowboy hat makes you a cowboy, a lab coat makes you a scientist, goggles act as an imagery to the steampunk genre as a whole. So strap on a shiny pair of steampunk goggles, just in case a spur of the moment trek through the desert is in order.
Is Steampunk just cosplay?
Steampunk is a genre which can be enjoyed on weekends at conventions or in some cases, day to day life. To some, it’s fun to dress up and pretend to be Lord Benedict G. Dobbins, while others see steampunk fashion as something more.
Generally, there are four types of people in the steampunk world. First, those who enjoy the genre and tend to only read and not act upon it, known as a ‘lurker’. Second, those who dress up for fun and do not take on a specific persona. Third, those into role playing and come up with their own specific persona or ‘steamsona’. Finally, those who live the steampunk lifestyle. Steampunk fashion no longer becomes cosplay. It becomes who they are.
This is a person who enjoys reading about steampunk but does not partake in cosplay or attend conventions. There are dozens on online communities dedicated towards steampunk. There are even more movies, books and music.The amount of information is staggering. You can be steampunk even if you don’t cosplay. (This should be obvious). It’s whats on the inside that matters, not the outside. Cosplaying is just another way to express yourself and take your passion one step higher.
The Weekend Warrior
These individuals love to attend steampunk conventions or renaissance fairs. Why? Uh, because it’s fun! It’s always great to be around like minded people and show of your creation. There are tons of events in which to participate. These can range from a simple meet up at a friends house to an entire convention with hundreds of steampunks.
Weekend warriors, this is a term used loosely, can either have a set persona or not. In this case, no persona is required. Being able to interact with others and show off their newest work of art seems to be enough. For some, it can be an excuse to dress up in clothes they wouldn’t normally wear and have a nice weekend. Once the fun filled weekend is over, it’s back to the grind of life. Of course, a mid week steampunk fix maybe in order.
Good morrow, ladies and gents. My name is Sir Frederick Hay Liddle. Queen Victoria has taken an interest in my work and hired me to transport her most precious possessions with my newest invention, the zeppelin. It took several years to complete and was a bit wary of first taking flight. Once in the air, observing the verdant plants become tiny specks, it all become worth it.
As seen in the above paragraph, it is easy and fun to take on a new persona. You can forget about your own life, even for just a few hours, and become someone entirely different. Always wanted to be a prince or engineer? Well here’s your chance!
Called ‘steamsona’, this is a personality thought up by the steampunk in which they enact. Certain people have their own reasons for coming up with a ‘steamsona’. One person may do it for the pure enjoyment of it while others do it help advertise products they’re selling. In either case, it’s fun. Pure and simple.
These steampunks are steampunks, through and through. Their public appearance is influenced by steampunk but is not considered cosplay. It’s considered leisure wear. Wearing this type of fashion makes them feel more like themselves.
Of course, being steampunk is not all about the fashion. Far from it. If anything, it’s more of a state of mind. There have been many individuals who say they were steampunk before they even knew about steampunk! The genre gives a name and theme to specific things people love doing. They love using their imagination. History is important to them. Creativity. Fashion. This is a way to combine all these and channel them together.
Is steampunk just cosplay?
In conclusion, the question of is steampunk just cosplay will receive a different answers from different people. It doesn’t matter how others view it. Steampunk is what you make of it. You just enjoy reading about it? Great. Do you like to dress up on the weekends and have a little fun? Go for it. Want to make a persona? Go right ahead. Lifestyle? Full steam ahead ladies and gents. Steampunk is all of this and more…more to some than to others.