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.

“Rejecting the Magic Bullet: Lastwear Feature, Part II” was published in Fashion, Interviews and tagged , , .

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