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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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SteamPunk arrives in Carlisle

Corsets, top hats and full skirts were bang on trend in Carlisle as SteamPunk arrived in the city.

SteamPunk photo
Jo Mitchell and Viv Walker

If you haven’t already heard of it, the SteamPunk genre is a fusion of Victorian, gothic and science fiction. Think Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter with a futuristic twist.

With an ever-growing fanbase nationally, there is now a Cumbria-based group who organised Saturday’s event.

It started in the city centre with a pop-up Victorian tea shop and gradually moved to the Regency in Fisher Street, where there was a SteamPunk fashion show and ball.

Among those who dressed up for the occasion was Ali Nichol-Way from Harraby. The 18-year-old student, who has a SteamPunk alter-ego called Zombie Elizabeth, said she first got into it through a band she followed and it just really appealed to her.

“They were SteamPunk influenced and I’ve always been interested in Victorian culture and fashion,” added Ali. “I got into some other bands and started going to conventions. I love it,” she said.

Also at the Carlisle event were three friends from the Penrith area, Viv Walker, Jo Mitchell and Heather Young.

They had made their own costumes using corsets and lots of fabric scarves.

“It’s diverse and very quirky,” said Viv, 18. “It’s great to see the SteamPunk movement coming to Cumbria.”

Jo, 19, added: “It’s just a great excuse to dress up and have fun. There are a lot of events in cities like Leeds so it’s nice to have something we can go to round here.”

There was some confusion on the day, with fans and some stallholders turning up at the Regency before organisers arrived and not all of the billed events happening.

But despite this, Drew Brown, chairman of SteamPunk Cumbria, said the overall event had gone well.

“We got a good pitch in the city centre and have had quite a lot of interest. The staff were all dressed up in corsets and homemade outfits,” he said. “I think there is quite a lot of SteamPunk in and around Cumbria now.

“The idea for the day just came when we were sat having a drink and it just took off from there.”

And it wasn’t just Cumbrians at the event. SteamPunk enthusiast Otto Ziener had travelled from West Yorkshire to support the day.

“I love being in character. I suffer from depression but it helps me deal with it. These days everyone is the same. It helps me express myself. I travel all over the country and the people I meet are like family to me now,” he said.

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