Steampunk is a sub-genre of punk that is expressed in specific locations such as costume fairs, renaissance fairs, Blizz-con, Comic-Con, Halloween, the burning man festival, large carnivals or perhaps in a more intimate setting with a group of friends, on a day outside over a picnic. It is not usually considered everyday clothing, worn on a trip to the mall because most people are unfamiliar with the concept, and it is not so much an statement against specific modern social trends, as an expression of an idea of how things could be completely different.
The Steampunk genre is based around the idea of the continuation of technology along the limitations of steam power, as if the use of fossil fuels, and other forms of power had never been discovered. Copper tubing and brass metalwork are considered the elements most used to construct gadgets and gizmos within these limitations. Blown glass and small amounts of electricity can also be important elements in creating “infernal devices”.
Steampunk clothing and fashion is dated around the age where Steam-power was most prevalent, so Victorian and Edwardian themes are a staple when putting together a costume
The Steampunk genre is always widely used to imply an imagined future where we have returned to steam power due to the depletion of other resources. This idea allows for low-high-tech possibilities, and is in some ways more favorable since it can incorporate futuristic fantasy. A pair of steampowered personal wings. Giant sea-bearing vessels in the shape of an octopus.
Therefore, the word “Steampunk” could imply someone in today’s world who favors the idea of this alternate technology existing over our current state of affairs. But a costume can also be themed in a futuristic sense, depicting an everyday individual who exists in a world where steam is the most used form of power. A charcoal besmudged urchin who works all day in a factory providing steam power to produce marvels of futuristic steam technology. A bounty hunter who’s weapons are fashioned from the remnants of ripped apart weapons of war, no longer of use because of the deficiency of “old world fossil fuels, but refashioned to store a payload of steam pressure for the purpose of launching a projectile towards anything hostile.
Thirdly, a costume can also be themed around a futuristic human being, who is a Steampunk because he makes use of what he can – Steam-power, and low-hi-tech gear to rebel against society.
The futuristic ideas are “punk” against where modern consumerism and reliance on fossil fuels is leading us. To ultra societies, global warfare and/or the altering of technology. And so the genre can sometimes blur with post-apocalyptic punk, cyber-punk, zombie-punk, etc.