STEAMPUNK FASHION – Amy Wilder
From the futuristic fantasy world of technology, fashion and art in the Victorian era and American “Wild West” of the 1800s, cover model Amy Wilder has emerged as a celebrity spokesperson for Steampunk enthusiasts worldwide.
Mode Lifestyle Magazine – “Life, Hopes and Dreams Issue 2020”
Editor: Jianna Ferrari
Story: By Terry Check
Photographer: Terry Check
Model/Stylist: Amy Wilder
Makeup Artist: Meredith Kurbel
Hair Stylist: Susana Zafar
Digital Artist: John Locu
Following the literary footsteps of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, the term, Steampunk, originated in the 1980s with the writings of science fiction writer, K.W. Jeter to better characterize the literary work of Blaylock’s “Lord Kelvin’s Machine”, Powers’ “The Anubis Gates” and his work “Morlock Night” which speculated on the development of steam-based technologies or alternative histories in time. Steampunk themes were brought to life in Walt Disney’s film, “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” (1954), with the design of the submarine and the crew’s underwater gear; and the 1960 film, “The Time Machine” with the design of the time machine itself. The iconic musical group, “The Beatles” performed as Steampunk artists for the album and retro film, “Yellow Submarine” profoundly influencing future musicians and writers. In the 1966 Beatle’s song “Eleanor Rigby” along with the music video “Eleanor’s Dream”, Paul McCartney and Eleanor found themselves transported by song to Victoria England, where they were sent on a futuristic Steampunk natured journey.
Today, Steampunk fans gather on social media sites such as www.steampunk.com and www.steampunkworldsfair.com, buy their costumes at thrift stores or handmade from remnants, and celebrate Steampunk at regional and national festivals and conventions, called “cons”, which bring together thousands of fans, celebrities, burlesque shows, panel discussions, vendors, and of course, parties with everybody dressed in costumes. In the Victorian era of romantic science fiction and industrialization of the period, ladies often wore floor length dresses complete with corsets, petticoats, hosiery, and often times, a small top hat with jeweled cuffs and black gloves. From England to the Wild West’s Steampunk, women sport skintight pants, leather corsets, ruffled blouses, knee-high boots, matching belt pouch and western hat with brass googles. Simply said “Steampunk fashion is about creating an outfit that delights the senses, entertains the wearer, and engages the viewer,” and that is exactly why Amy Wilder has fallen in love with Steampunk.
During her youth, Amy’s mother bought clothing from garage sales and thrift stores so that Amy and her friends could play dress up imagining being grown-up and traveling to faraway places. As Amy became older her love for fashion only became stronger, and while attending Savannah College of Art & Design she studied fashion design, sculpting and drawing. While working a day job to pay her bills, there was always a little spending money left to create amazing costumes with pieces pulled together from vintage stores, estate sales and even creations of her own.
The 24 years old model has now accumulated hundreds of costumes from Goth and Alternative to Fantasy, and of course, Steampunk. She has always been a fan of the Steampunk style, but never became aware of the term until attending Dragon Con in 2008. “I thought it was just a cool way people dressed at cons, and for photoshoots. I discovered steampunk culture, and fell absolutely in love with it when I wandered into AnachroCon in Atlanta in 2013, and I’ve been immersed and obsessed ever since,” Amy said in a recent interview. After attending several events, she met Thomas Willeford, founder and creative genius of Brute Force Studios, makers of handmade corsetry, leather goods and Steampunk accessories. Willeford soon became her mentor and she worked as an intern at the studio and modeled his fashion designs at Steampunk events.
Whenever Amy travels to her favorite cons (San Diego Comic Con, Wild Wild West Con, Anachro Con and Dragon Con), she “meets and greets” her fans, usually dressed in Steampunk costumes, signs posters of herself and participates on speaker panels discussing topics from costume design and styling to tips on makeup and hair. Recently after returning from Wild Wild West Con, Amy collaborated with Mode Lifestyle Magazine’s creative team to style a few Steampunk outfits accentuated with her signature makeup and hair designs for the photo shoot. Background digital artistry has been added to the photographs to create a surreal experience in Steampunk.
What’s next for the southern gal from Georgia? Her list is long: design fashion accessories in her workshop, rekindle her love for drawing (her paper napkin, fashion sketches could sell as artwork), continue adding to her costume collection (she needs more closet space), modelling assignments that pay big bucks, share her life experiences and aspirations with her followers on social media, and above all … have fun every day of her journey. “Wow, such a long list”, and when I asked again, “What’s next after the photo shoot?” She said, “Going to watch Deadpool tonight and then play D&D until three in the morning.”
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