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.
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."MOAR COMMENTARRYYYY
"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."