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Victorian gear heads and locomotive zealots: Vicarious nostalgia, retro-futurism and anachronisms of Steampunk and Dieselpunk

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This article explored the histories of both Steampunk and Dieselpunk with a focus on their dress behaviour and musical preferences as related to the ideologies of these groups. Particular attention was paid to both group’s fixations on nostalgia for periods outside of the individual members’ living memories and how this nostalgia is a feature of their consumption experiences. The article also addresses the anachronistic use of the word ‘punk’ in the name of each of these groups. There is an obvious incongruity with the naming of Steampunk and Dieselpunk because they are shameless consumer cultures with no obvious political inclinations. Although Steampunks and Dieselpunks do share the DIY aesthetic of the traditional punk subculture, their styles have been prefabricated, neatly packaged and made available for sale on any of the many websites devoted to providing the quintessential Victorian or diesel-era garb.
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Keywords: Dieselpunk; Steampunk; clothing; consumption; neotribe; nostalgia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of North Texas

Publication date: 01 August 2014

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  • Fashion, Style & Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship and its interfacings with popular culture. It was established to provide an interdisciplinary environment for fashion academics and practitioners to publish innovative scholarship in all aspects of fashion and popular culture relating to design, textiles, production, promotion, consumption and appearance-related products and services. Articles related to history, manufacturing, aesthetics, sourcing, marketing, branding, merchandising, retailing, technology, psychological/sociological aspects of dress, style, body image, and cultural identities, as well as purchasing, shopping, and the ways and means consumers construct identity as associated to Fashion, Style & Popular Culture are welcomed. The journal offers a broad range of written and visual scholarship and includes works done through various methods of research. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and translational applied research in the areas of fashion, style and popular culture. This journal hopes to stimulate new discussions in the fashion disciplines and to push the envelope of scholarship by welcoming new and established scholars to submit their works.
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