There was a buzz of excitement in the air as area Steampunks began streaming into the hotel Sunday. The group, known for their elaborate dress, made an appearance at The Pfister to enjoy a tour of the hotel’s art collection by Artist in Residence, Stephanie Schultz, followed by afternoon tea in Blu. The outing, organized by Julianne Hunter and Dr. Charles Tritt of The Milwaukee Steampunk Society, brought in around a dozen merry-makers from the metro area.
Hunter began her association with the Steampunk movement, which combines neo-Victorian fashion with an exploration of history, technology and the art of dressing while attending a Science Fiction convention. The subculture has representations and the conventions because the movement has close ties to classic science-fiction writers Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Drawn to Steampunk culture due to the attire, Hunter soon discovered those involved in the movement were clever, imaginative and good-hearted people. Along with Tritt, Bridget Sharon and other Steampunk enthusiasts, the group created The Milwaukee Steampunk Society to provide opportunities for like minded people to gather and explore.
While Hunter is drawn to the people involved in the movement and Tritt has a passion for exploring the history of technology, the pair also embrace the costumes that are the most recognizable part of the movement. Hunter laughs as she reveals that she never outgrew playing dress up as a child and Tritt laments that there are few opportunities to dress in formal attire in the modern world and happily discovered that Steampunk events not only allow for, but also encourage expression through fashion.
Eric and Amy Clapsaddle are also Steampunk devotees who embrace the fashion of the movement. The couple enjoy meeting new people and find those they connect with in the Steampunk community are among the most fun, friendly and creative people they have encountered. Beautifully attired, the couple find that rather than being competitive, fellow Steampunks encourage each other and support efforts to create new, and more interesting, outfits.
More information on The Milwaukee Steampunk Society and their next event, The Geneva Steam Convention, can be found here.