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Submitted on
January 30, 2012
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I really should quit. by shoomlah I really should quit. by shoomlah
Multiculturalism for Steampunk is starting up a weekly art challenge, and it looks promising. SO EXCITED. I've had a bunch of ideas for non-Western steampunk outfits floating around in my head, and it's nice actually having a weekly deadline to motivate me to finish some of them.

This is pretty subtle in its steampunkery (read: no extranneous metal bits), but I was just trying to bring in a few western/Victorian elements to traditional Indian clothing- legomuttoned sleeves, the double breasted, collared choli, and adapting the churidar into buttoned spats.

...Also a sweet hat.

(Photoshop CS5)

Editing to add some context in a response to toryot on Tumblr:
"No screeching, I promise! No such thing as being oversensitive with this sort of thing. I tried to avoid choosing anything specifically British (or any of the imagery specifically associated with colonization/”exploration chic”, things like khaki and piths), and tried to make it seem like the character had agency. I definitely don’t want to pretend I’m creating this in a void, that there aren’t historical and cultural contexts surrounding the politics of dress, but was trying to integrate elements that didn’t overwhelm the original culture.

Granted, I am of the opinion that Steampunk that erases past racial greivances (i.e. alternate history where white people are awesome and never did anything wrong and we’re all best friends) is kinda shitty and naive- that’s why I drew this as a character, and not as a costume design for something I would wear (as a white chick). If one were designing a Steampunk world, it would be unfair to assume that this cultural crossover didn’t happen and wouldn’t have existed, but I honestly apologize that the original post might make it seem like this was drawn solely for aesthetic purposes- and I’d like to address that and make it clear that I am definitely trying to keep context in mind, and am happy to be called out like this."

"I don’t want to imply that adding traditional elements of Victoriana immediately makes something steampunk, but rather that mixing the fashion styles present in India at the time is what makes it so. I admittedly tend to focus a lot more on punking of fashion, rather than adding overt sci-fi elements; a character choosing to appropriate and integrate motifs from the invading class, on their own terms, rather than the other way around.

So much of sci-fi is about addressing human issues, rather than the actual technology, and Steampunk has a tendency to ignore that entirely if not prompted. Yes, I definitely enjoy playing around with the design aspect of these sorts of pieces, but I’m also extremely keen on the historical and social context that informs it. Not saying I’m on par with Gavin Fernandes or Yinka Shonibare when it comes to fashion design with a message, but I am trying to keep it in mind and encourage the critiques from people who are better informed than I am."
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azathoth-the-second Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Any chance of this as a print?
ilovespageeaters Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014
It is very difficult to find fantasy artwork of Indian women that manages to not be super-cheesecakey. It is *nearly impossible* to find said artwork with a steampunk/Victorian twist. 

I found this piece after hours of Googling, and I've been jazzed about it ever since. Thank you for doing what you do!
koukuro Featured By Owner Edited Jul 23, 2014
Man, that awesome drawing, together with THAT coment!Clap 
Thanks for the good deviation!!
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Fantastic design, yay this :D
Charanty Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
It's steampunk if it has steam powered mechanisms and set in what approximately called 19th century. Or "alternative history".
However if you don't like the terns for some reason you can go for "science fantasy".
sweetsweetsunshines Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
wow O.o  I've never heard of mixing steampunk (set in Victorian times) and multiculturalism but makes it look so fun
Suka-Retto Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014
This is too FLIPPING GORGEOUS. I love the concept. LOVE it. Very nice work.
courtessa-love Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
Gah! I want to add it to my favorites again and again and again!!!
zakiaybee122 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
TeenTitans4EVER Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013
I really like this design and I could see a blending of British and Indian fashion having happened like this in an alternate universe. Obviously, it's not traditional (that would be the point) and it's not simply Victorian-ifiying Indian clothing either. It's a neat blend that is interesting to look at from a fashion standpoint and as an interesting "what if?" scenario. What if British fashion somehow managed to merge with Indian fashion? And I think you captured that pretty well. Obviously with Steampunk being so heavily Victorian (i.e. British) influenced and then trying to bring India into that genre, it's going to cause some upheaval. Honestly, as an Indian and a fan of Steampunk in general, I think you did a very interesting take on what Steampunk could look like in India and I appreciate that you kept true Indian fashion (and cultural elements) in the clothing. (That's something not seen even in Indian characters in media nowadays.) Anyways, that's just my two cents on the whole thing. 

TL;DR I love this image, and the character (especially her attitude) and I appreciate you keeping elements of Indian fashion and Steampunk fashion in it, without having one obstruct the other. 
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