Photo and article by John Collins
According to Google Statistics, Steampunk made a steady rise in popularity from 2007 to the end of 2012. On January 14, 2013, IBM announced that, “‘steampunk,’ a sub-genre inspired by the clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up, and take hold, of the retail industry. Major fashion labels, accessories providers and jewelry makers are expected to integrate a steampunk aesthetic into their designs in the coming year.”
Many of the Steampunk fans who took note of IBM’s statements were excited that it was poised to permeate the art and fashion of our modern society. However that does not seem to be the case.
For those who like statistics and watch charts, if you look at the Google chart showing interest in the topic based on the Google Statistics, it appears that interest in Steampunk peaked out in October of 2012 and only reached that same peak once in October of 2013. Looking at the chart today, October 9, 2014, it is at 91% of its peak. It looks as though it may not reach the peak that it hit the two previous Octobers.
When watching the charts for buying and selling stocks it is advisable to buy when it is low and sell when it is high and one might think that IBM picked up on the peak of Steampunk and “bought into” it then when it was at its peak and it was just a poor understanding of the charts.
Alternatively, in this case the observer may well have effected the results based on their prediction. They may well have been correct in predicting that the fashion world was about to embrace the Steampunk art and fashion but when they announced it as fact, they may have adversely impacted the trend.
How could IBM impact a social, art, and fashion trend? To be quite blunt, IBM is known for its innovations in technology, not fashion. Fashionistas create the trends and for them to be “predicted” would not set well with them…