Washington, DC — There is a movement afoot that is taking fashion and design to a new level. It’s a retro-futuristic style blending science fiction with a 19th-century Victorian-era aesthetic, and it’s called Steampunk. This eye-catching look is popping up everywhere: in theaters, movies, music and red-carpet fashion.
To understand how this unusual form of expression has steamrolled through the art, fashion and literary worlds, one must look back before looking forward. Steampunk can trace its roots back to the 19th-century works of HG Wells and Jules Verne as they imagined the future during the Industrial Age, with its brass and wood creations, powered only by steam. Although many science fiction stories written in the 20th century have been set in the Victorian period, the term “steampunk” is believed to be first used in the late 1980s, when author KW Jeter used it to describe stories set in the Victorian period written during that time when near-future cyberpunk was the prevailing form of science fiction. Evidence of the continuing popularity of the steampunk look and feel can be traced in feature films, from 1927’s “Metropolis” to this year’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The appeal of steampunk is oft-times a love of the Victorian period while others enjoy steampunk’s unique approach to technology: re-imagining modern capabilities with 19th-century machines. Jeannie Mai, host of GSN’s new “Steampunk’d” reality competition TV series explains, “Steampunk is a culture. It’s not just fashion. It’s a lifestyle, like punk rock. Punk rock is music, but it’s also a look and a style.”
GSN is hoping to capitalize on the growing trend with the debut of its new series. “Steampunk’d” features 10 contestants in a litany of pressure-filled challenges designed to test their abilities to transform ordinary objects and fashion into steampunk masterpieces. As each project is completed, the contestants (or Makers) will unveil their work for the judges, including leading authority on Steampunk Thomas Willeford. Other judges include writer/director Matt King and Kate “Kato” Lambert, founder of the world’s first steampunk clothing company, Steampunk Couture.
Each week, one of the 10 Makers will be eliminated until only one is left standing to take home the $100,000 grand prize. The series debuts on Aug. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/9 pm Central on GSN. For more information, you can visit this site.