Steampunk! Introducing Britain's latest fashion craze

The retro-futuristic blend of Victoriana and sci-fi is the next big thing to hit the high streets, forecasters say

Steampunk, once a cultish mix of sci-fi, steam and Victoriana in film and books, is now poised to conquer the world of fashion. Forecasters say the style, which blends the gaslight romance of Victorian London with a frisson of H G Wells and Jules Verne-inspired fantasy, is poised to make a massive leap from niche to the high street.

The news will come as little surprise to the tens of thousands who are already into the retro-futuristic style. But experts at the computer giant IBM predict that "steampunk will shift from low-production, high-cost 'craft' manufacturing to mass-production" within the next two years.

IBM analysed social media and other internet sites, and found that the amount of online discussion about steampunk increased 11-fold between 2009 and 2012.

It also noted that, since 2010, more than 20 major department stores and other retailers had become "steampunk savvy".

Fashion labels, accessories suppliers and jewellery-makers are expected to integrate steampunk looks into their designs – from corsets and aviator goggles to lace veils and frock coats.

Evidence of the emerging trend can already be seen on the catwalks. Prada's winter men's campaign featured several of Hollywood's leading males, including Gary Oldman, Jamie Bell and Willem Dafoe – dressed for adventure in heavily tailored, steampunk-inspired suits. The hats and equestrian-themed outfits in John Galliano's summer 2013 collection for Dior are said to have been similarly influenced.

High-street and internet retailers haven't been slow to react. Topshop and Asos have already embraced the trend, with the former offering a gothic velvet-and-lace bralet teamed with a floor-length pleated skirt in oxblood, and Asos has a double-breasted coat. Alternatively, Planet offers a veil fascinator.

The distinctive style – the name was first coined to distinguish a genre of fantasy set in an alternative Victorian era – can now be widely seen in everything from blockbuster films such as Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman, and the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes films through to some of Lady Gaga's wacky outfits and the steamship entrance of singer Rihanna at the London Paralympics.

IBM said its Birth of a Trend study looked at how trends spread globally online, and whether what's trending on social networks is likely to become commercially viable.

Trevor Davis, IBM's consumer products expert, said: "Technology can provide tremendous foresight, to help businesses differentiate what is a fleeting fad versus what is an enduring trend."

Some fashionistas have been sniffy: one dismissed steampunk as "what happens when goths discover brown".

But IBM expressed confidence in its work, saying its software was able to distinguish between sarcasm and sincerity to spot developing trends.

Steampunk chic

It isn't cheap but if you want to get the look, here's our guide:

Headgear Toppers, bowlers, veils, and even ball masks

Coats Military trenches and greatcoats

Jackets Double-breasted, pin-stripe suits with waistcoats

Shirts For her, the chiffon blouse; for him, collarless

Underwear Bustles, corsets and petticoats

Dresses Mix and match velour, velvet and lace

Trousers Jeans make the look less severe

Shoes Spats, platform lace-up boots from cut-price fashion chains

Accessories Goggles are a must, as are opulent brooches and pocket watches. Mobile phones can be "Victorianised"

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Primary Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER? WE CAN HELP ...

    Relationship Manager

    £500 - £600 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banki...

    Year 1 Teacher

    £100 - £145 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Teacher job in Nottingham ...

    NQT Primary Teachers

    £90 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Have you recently qualified...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone