Steampunk — that high-tech-revisionist take on Victorian aesthetics — has been active and highly visible for the better part of a decade, and has already woven its way in and out of fashion. Surely, elements of it will crest on the runways now and again. But fashion is too big and steampunk too clunky and specific for it to become a dominant style genre. Steampunk is a definitive subculture with a set of aesthetic norms that flourish only within that subculture. Even steampunk enthusiasts know that. Duh.
All this, however, did not stop IBM from releasing findings that, according to its high-tech proprietary future-casting algorithm, steampunk, "will be a major trend to bubble up, and take hold of the retail industry." It continues, "Major fashion labels, accessories providers, and jewelry makers are expected to integrate a steampunk aesthetic into their designs in the coming year." Granted, its algorithm had some good reasons to determine that. "Chatter" or discussion about steampunk is growing rapidly among the under-30 demographic — as it has been for years. But, as most fashion followers know, simple analytics cannot accurately predict the changing tastes and interests of groups of individuals based on mentions alone. If that were the case, we'd all be dressing like Psy.
Honestly, we sort of feel bad for IBM, which obviously has all the tools to accurately predict what the fashionable will be wearing in two years, but not the situational awareness to apply them properly. It's like your grandma trying to be hip and buying you a tube top post-1995. We appreicate the effort, guys, but you're doing it wrong.
That said, who knows? Maybe two years from now we'll be doing copper-plated top hat roundups for you. If that happens, IBM, we owe you a
Photo: Courtesy of Pleaser.