“Some people like to talk about steampunk as an antique future,” said Jen McGrew, co-owner of McGrew Studios in Salt Lake City. Steampunk is a fusion of art, fashion and a dash of fiction which combines 19th century styles with futuristic sci-fi and fantasy.
“The public embraces it, so as a costume designer I’m a service provider, and so I build for the corporate world and for trade shows and conventions, and people love steampunk and so we bring it to them,” McGrew said. “You’re seeing pop up everywhere from little independent designers to mainstream fashion.”
Designer Amanda Carrington said she brought the steampunk theme to a recent Salt Lake City fashion show because of how popular it is lately. “I’m a pretty big comic book reader,” she said. “I have read comic books ever since I was about seven, and being in the Comic-Con world, and all that kind of stuff it just seemed like it would be the best fit for me.”
Carrington’s steampunk fashion show took place as part of a monthly art, fashion and dance event called RAW SLC. “It was pretty intense,” she said. “I was doing make up from 12 p.m. until the end.”
McGrew assured us there is more to steampunk than what you wear. “It’s an attitude,” she said.
Steampunk is influenced by and often adopts the style of the 19th-century scientific romances of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley. Several works of art and fiction significant to the development of the genre were produced before the genre had a name. The oldest precursor of this genre in film, Fritz Lang’s masterpiece, “Metropolis” (1927), may be the single most important early film to represent steampunk as an emerging stylistic genre.