Rejecting the Magic Bullet: Lastwear Feature, Part II

This enig­mat­ic shot of Lyssa Char­trand-Beck­er by pho­tog­ra­ph­er Gabi­no Mabal­ay appeared in The Steam­punk Bible. It was part of a Last­wear pho­to shoot done for the book.

Last Mon­day, we ran the first part of this inter­view here.  The Last­wear Fea­ture con­cludes with the last five ques­tions of this inter­view with founder Thom Beck­er, and more smash­ing images.

To find out more about Last­wear, you can vis­it their site or their Twit­ter.

The Steam­punk Bible:  Steam­punk fash­ion has a huge DIY cul­ture.  What ele­vates the fash­ion to cou­ture in your store and on the run­way? In oth­er words, are your cus­tomers Steam­punk kids dress­ing up for Cos­play and Cons, balls, or are you see­ing a more diverse cus­tomer base?

Thom Beck­er: Well first off we’re not Cou­ture.  It’s a pet peeve when peo­ple call their cloth­ing Cou­ture.  It’s a pro­tect­ed term in France, there are some pret­ty spe­cif­ic things you need to do to call your­self that.  For a start, we don’t oper­ate a work­shop in Paris.

But to answer the point of your ques­tion.  We have a very diverse cus­tomer base.  I think our youngest cus­tomer was 12 or 13 and our old­est 70 some­thing.  We’re def­i­nite­ly focused on mak­ing cloth­ing, not cos­tumes.  I think the clothes we make can be put togeth­er to make some­thing that’s real­ly out­ra­geous or mixed with oth­er styles to be worn any­where.

The Gen­tle­men of Last­wear: From Left to right, BJ Beck­er, Chris Craig, Thom Beck­er, Noah Beasley, Nick Set­ten. In Front Richard Char­trand. Pho­tographed by Gabi­no Mabal­ay.

SPB: What are the dif­fer­ent types of Steam­punk fash­ion you’ve seen in your expe­ri­ence?

TB:  Oh god, there’s tons.  Gyp­sy, Rag n’ Bone, tat­tered chic, Engi­neer Grease Mon­key, High Vic­to­ri­ana, West­ern Gun­slinger, the list goes on.

SPB: How would you describe your brand of Steam­punk fash­ion?

TB: A-Tem­po­ral eclec­tic.  We’ve got a lot of stuff going on and we take a lot of influ­ences from Ear­ly Medieval Europe, Mei­ji era Japan, 1860’s West­ern wear, Napoleon­ic uni­forms, and right on through to Art Deco and pro­hi­bi­tion era styles.

SPB: Steam­punk fash­ion has a huge DIY cul­ture.  But it’s also becom­ing main­stream – in fact, this past sea­son many of the major hous­es had Steam­punk influ­enced designs on the run­way.  Do you think this com­mer­cial­iza­tion of Steam­punk will com­pro­mise its orig­i­nal spir­it of DIY?

The Vibrant Ladies of Last­wear: Left to right, Tra­cy McCarthy, Kate Strang, Lyssa Char­trand-Beck­er. Pho­tographed by Gabi­no Mabal­ay.

TB:  The DIY folks won’t care.  Some peo­ple who give a toot about what’s pop­u­lar may drop off from the scene when they decide that they’re too hip for it, but that always hap­pens.  Every scene goes through that cycle.  I do think that there’s some­thing deep­er that Steam­punk is an expres­sion of that rep­re­sents real change though and I expect that to last.

SPB: Future of Steam­punk fash­ion?  Where do you see it evolv­ing too?

Same as all Fash­ion, it’ll burn bright and brief and die.  That’s the way it works.  But I’m talk­ing about Fash­ion now, not style.  The punk scene’s aes­thet­ic is still around, same with the Goth scene.  Steam­punk will do the same.  In the big­ger pic­ture though I hope it will have a last­ing influ­ence in terms of how we val­ue our cloth­ing and what we expect it to do.  We try to design our clothes to Last.  It’s in the name.  More than just using qual­i­ty mate­ri­als and labor, we try to make our designs with the user in mind.  To make them repairable and easy to mod­i­fy.  We hope it engages peo­ple.

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