Star Trek: The Next Generation brought many changes to the iconic Starfleet uniform. One notable difference from the original series was the color coordination of rank, making red the color for commanding officers and ending the “red shirt of death” trope once and for all.
Uniforms of tomorrow may have brought a new sleek and cool look to Star Trek when TNG first premiered, but behind the scenes they gave the actors wearing them a lot of challenges.
Referred to as 'Type A,' the original uniform of TNG had a problem of smelling bad. Roddenberry had insisted that spandex would be the clothing material of the future and had the Starfleet uniforms made to reflect that vision. Unfortunately spandex retains odor for a longtime and after wearing them enough you can't clean out the smell.
Another intentional design made by Roddenbarry himself was to make the uniforms two sizes too small for the actors. The idea was to have future apparel look as smooth as possible and avoid having any wrinkles. Actors would complain that any weight gained would instantly show while wearing the skin-tight uniforms.
The tightness from it would strain the neck and back so much on the actors that Patrick Strewart's own chiropractor told him that if he kept wearing the uniform he would suffer permanent back damage.
"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..." said Patrick Stewart on his chiropractor's reaction to his back pain.
Robert Blackman joined the third season of TNG as the new costume designer for Starfleet uniforms. Here he would make changes to the design and finally fix the relationship between the cast and their uniforms.
Debuting in the first episode of season three, the 'Type B' uniform would replace the previous Type A used in the first two seasons. The new costumes were made to no longer be skin-tight and greatly helped with Patrick Stewart's back pain. Blackman also switched out the spandex material with wool after experiencing the awful smell of the costume department firsthand.
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