How Discovery compares to Original Series
How Discovery compares to TOS
I was talking to a Star Trek uniform fan the other day, and he commented that the asymmetrical collar on the Discovery uniforms really drove him nuts. I thought that was really funny and I told him so, because to my eye the collars of the Discovery uniforms were one of the most "Original Series" aspects of that entire uniform. A uniform incidentally that is filled with little homages to the Starfleet Uniforms worn up and down the timeline of Star Trek.
As those uniforms were introduced in 2256 (a couple of years before "The Cage'' and about a decade before Jim Kirk takes the Enterprise on his Five Year Mission), I really want to compare them with their Original Series counterparts. At a glance, they might appear radically different, but they have more in common than you might have realised.
First, let's acknowledge right up front that they are in fact blue, very blue. A specific color called "Federation Blue," that was intended to recall the blue flight suits of Captain Archer's crew aboard the NX-01. While the color of the uniforms was different, the ensemble itself returned to TOS' familiar tunic and pants combo. The proportions are even similar with a form fitted short tunic over the unifom's pants, and the similarity between the two outfit’s silhouette becomes especially apparent when looking at Star Trek: Discovery’s uniform pattern, made with TOS’ color scheme.
But, the real similarities are found in the uniform's details. The collar for instance is a direct homage to the folded over collars worn by female Starfleet officers in "The Cage" and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Discovery costume designer, Gersha Phillips took direct inspiration from Star Trek's original pilots episodes for that aspect of the uniform's design.
More than that, the shape of the collar is taken from all over the Original Series itself. TOS' famed costume designer William Ware Theiss used asymmetry to great effect in a lot of his uniform and costume designs seen throughout the Star Trek series he designed for.
Even the uniform's diagonal zip closure recalls similar closures on a number of TOS era uniforms and costumes including Captain Kirk's distinctive Command Green wraparound tunics.
The first thing I want to know when a new Star Trek series is on the way is - what are the uniforms going to look like? Will there be something I like about them, something I don't? Will I see something of the Starfleet uniforms I have loved in them? With Gersha's Discovery uniforms the answer is a resounding "yes." It's funny. Some look at these uniforms, and only see what's different about them. I look at the same outfit and see echoes of The Original Series uniforms I grew up loving.
The Original Series was only the first influence in the development of Discovery’s Starfleet Uniforms, and we’ll explore that in future blog entries.
Until then...live long and prosper.
John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS