An Overview of Ideas
Steampunk is a cultural movement of people who wish to rediscover the adventure, mystery and imagination in the modern world. We take our inspiration from the pre-industrial past, when craftsmanship mattered and before mass-production and vast meta-companies with billion-dollar profits became the norm.
We prize individuality and personal expression, trying to be inclusive rather than exclusive; the wide-scope of people who call themselves Steampunks makes any definition difficult. Anarchists who fight for environmental protection and individual rights, artisans who hand-craft beautiful and functional works of art, story-tellers who explore what could have been, what should have been and what was never going to be, free-thinkers who want to bring some magic back into the world and lead by example, costumers who slip into another set of cloths and another life, engineers trying to find some tactile connection with the world we live in... Everyone's welcome.
Whenever more than half-a-dozen Steampunks gather in one place, it's almost inevitable that a discussion will start as to What Steampunk Is. It normally ends with people agreeing to disagree. Consider us guests at an open party. Anyone can come in. If you find like-minded people and want to stay, you're more than welcome.
Why the top hats and waistcoats?
The Victorian Age was one of exploration and wonder. It was a time when a man could conceive of a mad idea, build it in his shed and change the world with it. It was a time when the map of the world was full of blank spaces and the rules of what could and what could not be achieved had not been decided upon. It was a time when people made the effort to be considerate, be social and make time for each other. It was a time when all the possibilities of the modern world were open and the path we were to take was still unclear.
It was a time of exploitation, sexism, racism and attempted genocide. It was a time of oppression and unfettered capitalism. It was a time of starvation and disease. We're not ignoring the dark and deeply unpleasant side of history. We're trying to learn from it, to recapture the triumphs without the tragedies. That spirit of adventure and enthusiasm for life and the world is still part of the human soul, and we can learn from the mistakes of our grand-parents and great-grant parents.
There's no 'Steampunk uniform', no 'secret handshake' in the form of accessories or badges. We're just a group of people with similar ideals, ideas and aesthetic sense. And, well, if something looks good on your fellow Steampunk, it may look good on you, with a few tweaks and additions here and there...