Steampunk Goggles Meet Pop Culture

A screenshot of the Gangnam Style Steampunk parody video.
A screenshot of the Gangnam Style Steampunk parody video.

Although steampunk made its early appearance in the 1980’s, there was little recognition of its existence due to the dominance of vibrant colors and Miami Vice. However, the sub-genre has experienced an emergence as of late in popular culture.

The fashion elements associated with steampunk have found their way into viral videos, hit Hollywood movies, and even respectably stylish runways. Even IMB was caught researching the probability of this style making a major comeback. Previously, there were references to steampunk in Back to the Future and Wild Wild West, two well known movies during their time.  Now, a movie like Sherlock Holmes pays much of its artistic attention towards developing this fascinating sub-genre as a theme. Even Ron Weasely appeared wearing cheap steampunk goggles during a Quidditch match in the popular Harry Potter film series.  Less than a year ago, Prada had their male models adorned in elegant suits that were attributed to steampunk.  The style seems to have taken certain mediums unexpectedly and by storm.  Don’t be surprised to notice it surfacing more often as the year passes.

One medium that has been a subject of the steampunk experience as of late is YouTube.  A recent image of a steampunk outfit appeared in a video parody of the popular YouTube music video known as Gangam Style.  The original, by Psy, was an internet sensation.  Now, an imitation has been created using the widespread popularity of Psy’s catchy song, but in steampunk style. The parody is informative in nature, explaining much of the aspects that steampunk consists of through lyrics: part science-fiction, part fantasy, part historical fiction. In a way, this confirms the general population’s lack of awareness as to what steampunk really is.

One of the most popularized items associated with a steampunk costume is a pair of metallic goggles, and as far as I can tell they are not prescription…yet. As we can see in the Steampunk Style video, these goggles are worn by many of the people involved.  A young girl prances about in a pair of brass aviator goggles while many of the males wear them strapped to the crowns of their hats.  The goggles become iconic because without them some of the personalities could be confused as not being steampunk. With them, there’s an unequivocal sense of which look is being sought out.

The term steampunk is not generally well-known, however its emergence into pop-culture references issue a sense of relativity to contemporary ideals.  The more its seen in movies, YouTube videos, and on fashion runways, the more the public begins to accept the future in steampunk women’s and men’s fashion. Already, parody videos are made with the basis of their content being the steampunk style.  Movies are incorporating the sub-genre through character accessories, like goggles.  Before there will be time to notice, mall retailers will have racks full of clothing dedicated to this emerging culture.

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