A Closer Look at Our Star Trek Discovery Uniforms!
The U.S.S. DISCOVERY has rocketed from the past to the future, and so have our Star Trek: Discovery Uniforms!
These uniforms have been one of the most complex replicas we've attempted, with material, design, durability, and detail challenges unlike anything we've ever encountered before. Originally designed and assembled for Discovery under the supervision of Costume Designer Gersha Phillips, the new uniforms were meant to evoke a number of looks from Star Trek’s past. The blue of the primary uniform was a nod to Star Trek: Enterprise, while the department symbols and insignia are similar to those worn in The Original Series.
What was new in the design of these Starfleet Uniforms were details like using dissimilar fabrics, asymmetrical collar construction, channel stitching, self sealing zippers, wavy embroidery, and of course the metallic department colored accents used throughout the uniform. Each one of these details presented their own challenges, while collectively they made for one the most difficult Star Trek uniform designs in the history of the franchise.
These challenges had to be overcome to bring a real world, functional costume replica to the public. What the Star Trek: Discovery Costume Department could handcraft & personally maintain for a cast of dozens on the show, had to be duplicated for nearly a thousand in a sustainably durable fashion. All while maintaining absolute visual and physical continuity with what we see on our screens & alongside the stage worn costumes from the show. Costumes that we were graciously permitted to examine by our friends at CBSVIACOM.
Consider for example, the metallic accents on the uniform. The original costumes look fantastic on screen. However, up close and in person you would see the results of wearing them even once. Particularly the department colored micro deltas and striping on the uniforms which require care, maintenance, and even the application of touch-up paints on stage. While that's fine for a TV costume, that's not a situation we could pass along to people who want to wear a Starfleet uniform for their own amusement. None of us have a production costume department in our homes to help maintain our own clothes, and so a better way had to be found.
We worked with a specialized company to replicate the metallic print. Doing test after test to ensure that the colors read correctly, and eventually managed to find the perfect metallic mix. One that's not only a good color match, but is durable as well. Even worn down, the paint does not fade or chip to find a different color underneath. It is metallic throughout and can sustain dry cleaning and hand washing.
We had to find creative solutions like that throughout the Discovery Uniform. Check out the pants for instance, and look at the knee. Really look at it. At first glance, it looks like corded channel stitching. It's not. It's a completely new style of wavy embroidery. Oh, it provides a totally unique & futuristic look, but it was done by hand and took us a while to figure out precisely how they had manipulated the fabric. It took several trials in various forms and fabrics to perfect, but the end result was an exact duplication of the technique.
And that's really the trick isn't it? "An exact duplication.” That should always be the goal, right? In this case though, duplication wasn't enough. In this case we had to do far more than duplicate, we had to innovate. It took time to do. It took effort & dedication on the part of many people - from our own teams, to teams from different companies, and even friends that work on Star Trek: Discovery.
We hope everyone that wears one of these enjoys it for many, many years to come. This time it can be said that we all earned our uniform. "True Believers."
John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.