Rejecting the Magic Bullet: Lastwear Special Feature, Part I.

One of the images that appeared in The Steam­punk Bible, and fea­tures the entire Last­wear shop. Back row, from left to right: Chris Craig, Kate Strang, Thom Beck­er, Lyssa Char­trand-Beck­er, Noah Beasley, Tra­cy McCarthy, Nick Set­ten In Front: Left — BJ Beck­er, Right — Richard Char­trand. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Gabi­no Mabal­ay

Last­wear is a cloth­ing com­pa­ny based in Seat­tle.  They first start­ed in 2007, when accord­ing to their mis­sion state­ment, founders Thom Beck­er and Jawn Wake­field “real­ized they both want­ed to update the design of the clas­sic Japan­ese Haka­ma to include pock­ets etc.”  Since then, their inno­v­a­tive and edgy designs have tak­en them into var­i­ous sar­to­r­i­al ter­rains, includ­ing Steam­punk.

Thom Beck­er was very kind to The Steam­punk Bible, and not only sat down with us for an inter­view, but he also coor­di­nat­ed an exclu­sive pho­to shoot, sev­er­al images of which were pub­lished in the book.  As a thanks to him, Last­wear, the Last­wear mod­els who will be men­tioned in the cap­tions, and to pho­tog­ra­ph­er Gabi­no Mabal­ay, we thought we’d run the oth­er beau­ti­ful images here, as well as Thom’s inter­view, in two parts.

To find out more about Last­wear, you can vis­it their site, or fol­low them on twit­ter.

The Steam­punk Bible: What is your per­son­al def­i­n­i­tion of Steam­punk?

Thom Beck­er, founder and mod­el. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Gabi­no Mabal­ay.

Thom Beck­er:  I don’t know that any of us real­ly have one.  I think there’s a cer­tain mind­set that goes with it.  A kind of Con­struc­tive Anti­estab­lish­ment point of view.

The idea that peo­ple have the pow­er to make their own lives bet­ter.  It’s not about tear­ing down the sys­tem, hell it’s not about the sys­tem at all.  It’s about say­ing “here are some prob­lems.  We could try to fix the sys­tem so that it can solve them, or we can just cut out the mid­dle­man and fix it our­selves.”

Per­haps Steam­punk is about decid­ing that what we’ve got is enough already.  Per­haps as a cul­ture we’ve been like artists that nev­er paint any­thing but just keep buy­ing more art sup­plies and expect­ing the paint­ing to just hap­pen. Steam­punk is the deci­sion to paint with what we’ve got. To make life bet­ter now.

It’s the rejec­tion of the mag­ic bul­let.

SPB: How long have you been involved/interested in Steam­punk?

TB: I guess it’s been about two years since peo­ple first start­ed to call Lastwear’s designs Steam­punk.  Pri­or to that we were just design­ing the clothes we liked, the idea that we were Steam­punk design­ers hadn’t occurred to us before then, so Id say about two years.  Although, if you want the def­i­n­i­tion above, we’ve been doing it for about five years, since Last­wear was born.

SPB: What dif­fer­ences do you see between now and when you start­ed?

TB:  The Scene has got­ten big­ger.  We tend to focus on our own thing so a lot of the time we don’t real­ly know what’s going on in the larg­er Steam­punk com­mu­ni­ty.  For us, not much has changed.  Maybe our mar­ket has grown? that’s good for us [sic].

Last­wear Girls, left to right: Tra­cy McCarthy, Kate Strang, Lyssa Char­trand-Beck­er. Pho­tographed by Gabi­no Mabal­ay

SPB: Steam­punk obvi­ous­ly influ­ences your designs – what is it about Steam­punk fash­ion that keeps design­ing fresh?

TB: Heh, ya know, that’s be gging the ques­tion a lit­tle.  Keep­ing one’s work fresh doesn’t real­ly have a lot to do with the medi­um or genre one’s work­ing in my opin­ion.  Every­thing is going to influ­ence how you work. We have a lot of friends who are into the Steam­punk aes­thet­ic so it’s going to influ­ence us.  To be hon­est,  the more pop­u­lar Steam­punk get’s, the hard­er it’ll be to stay fresh with­in the genre.  To a cer­tain extent that’s some­thing that’s out­side of our con­trol;  We design what we design, the rest of the world get’s to say whether it’s cool or not.  For us, I t hink it’s more about hav­ing fun with what we’re doing.  I think you can see when some­one enjoys the work they do, when they’re pas­sion­ate about it.  That’s what keeps it fresh for us.

Stay tuned for more images and dis­cus­sion from Thom B. and Last­wear in Part II, Wednes­day.


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

2 Responses to Rejecting the Magic Bullet: Lastwear Special Feature, Part I.

  1. Pingback: Rejecting the Magic Bullet: Lastwear Feature, Part II | The Steampunk Bible

  2. My good friend Hans Van­der­wey­den told me about this site. Love the pic of the 3 women! I’m def­i­nite­ly going to check out Last­wear cloth­ing. So far all I wear is Gyp­sy Moon (hence the plug). Maybe time to spice it up a bit.
    Keep up the good work.