FYI logo

Steampunk VS Goth

by Lucifer Divinitas 10 months ago in Pop Culture
Report Story

Are these subcultures the same?

 Some say that Steampunk is Goths discovering brown. This, however, is an oversimplification and inaccurate. Although there are similarities to the Victorian Gothic subculture Steampunk has its own origin story.


Steampunk's origin story begins in literature. Specifically in the romantic Victorian fantasies influenced by the literary works of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edward S. Ellis. However, the term “Steampunk” was coined in the late nineteen eighties as a tongue-in-cheek answer to cyberpunk. What is steampunk exactly, you may ask? Steampunk is a science fiction subgenre that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery and by Victorian-era British and American fashion.

 Goth origins begin in the early eighties post-punk music, which grew into Goth Rock. Post-punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and The Cure help to shape the Goth subculture today. The term Goth is often mistaken for the term Gothic which is the spooky aesthetic often associated with musicians like Marilyn Manson, filmmakers like Tim Burton, or artists like H.R. Giger. Although these examples are Gothic they have little to do with the Goth subculture music. Goth is about music. Gothic is the dark aesthetics. You don't have to dress in black to be Goth.


So what brings people together from these two cultures? Interestingly enough Steampunkers and Goths cohabitate together at many of the same events such as Wave-Gotik-Treffen. This has probably lead to the statement “Steampunk is Goths discovering brown”. However, as we have discovered, these are two different cultures with different origins. So then why do these two cultures get along so well? Some may argue that there aren't enough Goth or Steampunkers to in a given area to have their own events. However, this doesn't quite ring true as small events are much easier to organize than large events and as we have seen at large events such as for mentioned Wave-Gotik-Treffen we have members of both cultures attending.

So why are these two cultures so accepting of each other? Well, the obvious answer would be the similarities in fashion choices that Steampunkers share with Victorian Goths. However, I personally feel it goes much deeper. Fashion aside, Steampunkers bring their interesting DIY functioning mechanical creations, which bring a sense of fascination and charm to any festival. And I like to think Steampunkers like some of the wide range of Goth music available at festivals and events.


For the most part Steampunk fashion is inspired by the romantic industrial Victorian era of British fashion. Whereas the Gothic subculture has many various types of fashion. Some of these types include; Romantic Goth, Victorian Goth (the two closest to steampunk in style), Lolita Goth, Trad Goth, Cybergoth, Pastel Goth, Gothabilly, Fetish Goth, Gothic Lolita to name just a few examples.


Does steampunk music? Although not birthed from the music scene steampunk does have its bands such as

Abney Park,

Steam-powered Giraffe,

Dr. Steel

Derek Fiechter

What is the Steampunk sound? Since steampunk wasn't birthed from the music scene, unlike Goth, there is no defined sound. However, the bands mentioned above do have some similarities and contain some of the same elements such as cabaret, electronic, and rock n' roll. 

 What is Goth music? Now that's a big question. Goth Rock casts a wide umbrella over many different genres such as:

New Wave ( Devo)

Dark Wave ( Dead Can Dance)

Death Rock (Alien Sex Fiend)

Cold Wave (Lebanon Hanover)

Goth Rock (Bauhaus)

And the list goes on.


So whether you're into the DIY mechanical creations and the fantastic Victorian literature of Steampunk or into the melancholic music of the Goth subculture there will be something for you at either one of these subculture's events. And who says you can't be into both?

Pop Culture

About the author

Lucifer Divinitas

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.