New interview reveals where ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ drew its uniform inspiration from

Star Trek: Discovery

In a new behind-the-scenes feature from Paramount, the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery share the inspirations for seasons four’s new uniforms. 

As in past seasons, uniforms for the crew of USS Discovery are getting an overhaul, but this season’s have some personal touches. “I love everything that I’m in this season,” says Sonequa Martin-Green, actress of the Discovery’s captain Michael Burnham. “It’s always so exciting at the start of new seasons when I get to be in new things, and the dress uniform especially I think is gorgeous.”

The dress uniforms really are the star of the show, and series costume designer Gersha Phillips explains her creative process behind the new design:

“When we shot the last episode of season three, we realized that the uniforms matched the ship, the walls of the bridge. That was the impetus for creating these new colors and so we spent a lot of the beginning of the season trying to come up with the best combinations of them, ‘cause we were trying to hold the gray, go with a darker gray.”

The end result is a bridge full of more color, with red, blue, and gold featuring more prominently in the designs. “I kind of wish we had thought about that sooner,” Phillips says, “but it did take looking at that and seeing Sonequa’s head almost look like it was floating on the captain’s chair to realize that for us.”

Martin-Green had high praise for the costume designer, who has also worked on Miles Ahead (2015) and The Whistleblower (2010). “It’s a kaleidoscope of brilliance, the mind of the lady,” she says of Phillips. “And I love these new uniforms as well. I think that they call back to earlier iterations of Star Trek, I think they call back to [Star Trek: The Original Series] especially in a really beautiful way.”

Phillips said they sought “a cleaner, sleeker silhouette for Starfleet,” which is a challenge for a costume department working in the 21st century. “We’re stuck with 21st century materials and capability, so it’s definitely a challenge.” 

One of the most challenging and, in Phillips’ opinion, greatest costumes to date is the crew’s new EV suits, which more closely resemble the new look of the fleet while focusing on comfort for actors. 

Martin-Green’s favorite new outfit is the leather jacket seen in episode one of the new season. Phillips explains how the design emerged from a misinterpretation of the script. “I thought she was in her career mode,” Phillips says, “And now it’s become a cool new uniform for the start fleet world, which is kind of awesome.”

“I love being in command red,” shares Martin-Green, the first Black woman to lead a Star Trek series. “I think that it’s bold and I also really loved the slight shift in hair again because now I have these individual braids, which I thought really spoke to the sense of ease and security which has finally come from maturation and from finally sitting in that chair.”

Star Trek: Discovery season four is currently streaming on Paramount Plus.