Over the years, the Federation uniforms from “Star Trek” have become nearly as iconic and famous as the series and the actors who filled them. And they aren’t simple, either. Made with primary colors, the uniforms are meant for easy identification. Since “The Next Generation,” red meant command, the yellow meant engineering or security, and blue meant science or medical. Simple.
But the more fans get into it, the more questions arise, thanks to the series of pips and stripes accompanying many uniforms. Those pips on the collar were abandoned by Gersha Phillips, who created the new “Star Trek: Discovery” uniforms for Season 3. The pips on the collar for Picard, Sisko, and Janeway have been merged into the Starfleet delta badge, which is worn on the left breast.
“I do love the fans that try to figure it out,” Phillips told writer Leslie Combemale. “Sometimes they send me little shots on social media of what they’re doing and their process in creating their cosplay. They care about getting it exactly right. There really are no fans like ‘Star Trek’ fans.”
Sexy Space Pajamas
While some fans call the “Star Trek” uniforms space “pajamas,” the actors share a different story, especially regarding the comfort and look of the various designs.
The Next Generation of Uniforms
The uniforms for Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew on “The Next Generation” were created by the original Trek costumer, William Ware Theiss. Instead of a shirt and pant combination, like what he made for William Shatner and the rest on “The Original Series,” he created Spandex jumpsuits for this new century.
On the orders of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, these new suits were supposed to be as slick and streamlined as the new U.S.S. Enterprise-D. When Season 3 rolled around, the new Trek costume designer, Robert Blackman, got rid of the Spandex look for “The Next Generation” crew because the material was “smelly.”
But that might not have been the only reason they were changed. Stewart told Newsweek that he was not afraid to sue Paramount over the suits and how they were affecting his back.
“I came to loathe the costume,” Stewart said in the interview. “We actually got rid of it after the second season thanks to my chiropractor, who said, ‘If they don’t take you out of that costume, we are going to slap a lawsuit on Paramount for the lasting damage done to your spine.’”
Even Jonathan Frakes spoke about how painful the uniforms were and how uncomfortable the “stirrups” were. Frakes told Shatner about those stirrups, which stretched the suit from the shoulders to the heels, during “The Captain’s Summit,” a roundtable conversation moderated by Whoopi Goldberg.
The Dangerous Act of Raising One’s Arms
British actor Jason Isaacs, who played Gabriel Lorca on the first season of “Discovery” went on the record over how uncomfortable his uniform was. In a recent interview with Page Six, Isaacs did not hold back on what happened as he performed, which he compared to being “inside a vacuumed sausage skin.”
“It wasn’t so much that they were uncomfortable, it was just that I prefer my testicles down somewhere near my groin and not my throat,” Isaacs told Page Six.
Isaacs also told Page Six that when he lifted his arms up while in the uniform, there “was quite a display that they hadn’t planned for.”
Isaacs, who is also known for his role in the “Harry Potter” franchise, did not make it through Season One alive and his character has not been a part of “Discovery” since.