Steampunk style a nod to consumerism

23:21, Jul 31 2014
A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT: Cashmere High student Jemima Huston has inspired her classmates to embrace both steampunk and design with her creation The Consumer, modelled by Charlotte Sullivan.

Cashmere High School student Jemima Huston, 17, is one of many students who have entered costumes in this week's steampunk fashion runway competition at South Library. Hannah Herchenbach reports.

Can you tell us about your costume?

"Its name is The Consumer, and she is a literal representation of human consumption of materialistic things - but instead of having a cellphone attached to her, she has a bird skull and a fur and she's got knives and forks for hands, so she's hungry for anything that's out there. Originally I just started thinking about knives and forks - I thought that would be a really cool way to take steampunk, since they are metal. Steampunk is based off the Victorian age, where the Industrial Revolution began and therefore sort of the beginning of consumerism, so I thought that fits really nicely with the theme."

Where did you find all the bits and pieces to pull it together?

"It was a collection of stuff from op shops, fabric stores and construction sites. The knife and fork hands were made out of the signs you find at construction sites. The necklace is a chain from our garage, plus some cardboard, wires and a headlamp - it lights up like a takeaway sign and says "Eat me", which is a nod to consumerism but also Alice in Wonderland. The bird skull was carved out of polystyrene; that took a couple hours."

When did you first become interested in fashion and design?


"One of the first things I wanted to do was fashion design, when I was about 6, but as I got older, I got more interested in theatre. At the moment I am in the first intake of the Court Theatre Youth Company, and one of our mentors told us: 'If you want to be in any aspect of theatre, you must be involved in everything'. This brings me back to costuming, which is good practice."

How did you first find out about the South Library steampunk fashion show?

"My mum is the administrator for the Christchurch City Library, so I found out about it through her. When we were planning our Wearable Arts competition at our school, everyone on the student council was told to go home and think of a theme. I thought if we matched themes it would be a good way for everyone to be able to participate in the library fashion show as well.

The student body really got behind it - it got people really excited about doing something a little bit different."


The Christchurch City Libraries' Steampunk Runway fashion catwalk is on Saturday, at South Library, 66 Colombo St. Show starts at 7pm, doors open 6.30pm. Free entry.

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