That steampunk is a rising star on the Japanese fashion scene has been known for quite a while. More and more Japanese are interested in the momevement, or elements of it, and it’s starting to show regularly.
First of all, there is the Tokyo-based steampunk ensemble Strange Artifact, the band that comes with their own steampunk accessories label, Poorman’s Gold Label. A brand that is not only for sale at their concerts or whenever the band gets a stand at things such as Design Festa or ArtisM Market events, but also in select stores throughout the city.
Secondly, there are the regular steampunk events, SteamGarden.
And thirdly, big-name brands, mostly street-fashion ones, have picked up on the steampunk phenomenon. Especially lolita brands have hopped on the bandwagon, especially Alice and the Pirates, Metamorphose, Temps de Fille and Innocent World.
But all of that is just to give you some basic background to what os happening in Japan.
Today I’d like to write about the latest fashion addition going steam: h.NAOTO with their h.NAOTO STEAM.
h.NAOTO has been around for absolute ages. It is generally one of the more visual kei-type brands and is known for its collaborations with artists and musicians.
It’s not the first time the label has delved into a different style of fashion, combining other aesthetics with their own look, as they have previously released lolita– and Aristocrat-style/inspired sub-brands GRAMM and FRILL.
And now there is STEAM.
Don’t expect much typical Victoriana style from this brand, which is the look most people associate with steampunk fashion.
h.NAOTO STEAM is a mashup of visual kei and contemporary steampunk. Historical elements are visible here and there, but they are mostly staying true to their original aesthetic and adding steampunk to the mix for a more ragamuffin-type look. Which is especially cool for those who aren’t into clean lines and Victorian elements.
It also proves that the Japanese are, much more than many Western designers, unafraid of shedding the supposed “rules” (insofar as there are rules to begin with) of steampunk fashion.
Some of their things may look doubtful as steampunk garments at first glance, but think up combinations in your head and then you’ll realized they could work.
Although most are pieces I personally wouldn’t wear, I applaud this brand for taking a step into steampunk all the while staying true to their own aesthetic. Hopefully more will follow, as I do believe the unique Japanese style can only enrich the worldwide steampunk movement.