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Discovery | Importance of Original Patterns

The Importance of Using Accurate Original Patterns

When we got our first glimpse of Captain Georgiou & Commander Burnham’s new uniforms in the run-up to Star Trek: Discovery’s "launch" we said, "OK. That’s a completely different uniform!" From its diagonal zipper & asymmetrical collar, to its metallic printed deltas & embroidered contrast points - Gersha Phillips and her costume team showed us a strange new world filled with her clearly distinctive creations. It was fresh. It was amazing, but it also meant that we had our work cut out for us.

Having built a reputation of being able to replicate our highly accurate costumes from archive reference and access to original uniforms, we were confident that we could make them. But, we also knew immediately that this uniform would be nearly insurmountable for one reason alone - the pattern's cut shapes were atypical. With odd inorganic curves that would need an endless array of testing to get the drape and overall “look” just right.

It can't be emphasized enough that without access to original uniforms we couldn't have come close to the original costumes. 

It's lucky then that we were positioned in the right place & time. 

Having been friends and partners with CBS Consumer Products from the very start of ANOVOS', we were invited to visit the studio in Toronto where we met Gersha and her team, saw Daniel Hyun Lim's original costume concept sketches, documented several original uniforms, and most importantly were granted access to not only one set of patterns, but four during our trip. This level of access was unprecedented, and we left armed with a range of reference material from Captain Lorca to Ensign Tilly. We felt confident we’d be able to capture the breath of sizing for everyone while maintaining a level of accuracy befitting the fantastic work of the Star Trek: Discovery Costume Department.

Thus armed with terabytes of reference & patterns, our next step was Digital Grading of the patterns. This process captures every size and translates it into what we know are the most requested common sizes in our community of Star Trek fans & customers.  

Technical note: What is grading and why is it important? 

As most of our customers are aware, the sizing of a typical female lead is pretty small. It is unusual to see a woman depicted on screen that resembles the plus size models that we are seeing on more fashion runways these days. What CBS did in casting Mary Wiseman in Star Trek: Discovery is to introduce us to a modern sized actress. With Ens. Sylvia Tilly’s screen used pattern, for the first time, we were able to reference not just the usual size small and extra small costumes, but a larger sized pattern which gave us a full range of sizes. That made the grading of the patterns more “true” to the Starfleet uniforms’ tailored fit. We didn’t have to rely on the ANOVOS standard grading points to do an overall increase in size for each piece, as we generally do for our costumes. We had accurate reference points to adjust in order to ensure the design remained consistent. This was an extraordinary opportunity to get the fit right not only for our smaller customers, but for the curvier fan base as well.  

Final Note: 

After overcoming the issues of sizing & refining the pattern to be just as faithful to the original costumes as the right combination of metallic prints and contrasts - we believe this outfit is in the top three of the most stage accurate outfits we’ve ever created. From a combination of getting to work with the original production team, to bringing this to Texas to be watched over directly - it was a magical combination that rarely presents itself. 

The creation of an "ultimate wearable replica."

We feel that this piece of wearable art will be a must have uniform in any Star Trek collection. Ordinarily we'd have excitedly unveiled this amazing ensemble at a convention like San Diego Comic Con or The Official Star Trek Convention, but owing to the ongoing pandemic, pictures will have to suffice for now. It's often said that "A picture is worth a thousand words." If that's true then I'll stop, and let our uniform speak for itself.

Joe Salcedo January 25, 2021 5 tags (show)