In TOS they need costumes to dress up themselves several times. In most cases they can somehow quickly produce the clothes they need.

For instance in “Patterns of Force” Kirk orders Dr. McCoy to beam down in a special SS uniform and he’s nearly fully dressed only a few minutes later. Also in “Assignment: Earth” they are able to quickly get 20th-century clothes.

Where do this clothes and costumes come from? They haven’t replicators, so do they have a depot full of clothes of the 20th century?

  • Just a speculation, but we are well on the way to fully automated clothing production today (see this article and this one), if they had something like that all they'd need for fast custom clothing production would be raw materials (different types of threads/fabrics). They might also have something like 3D printing for the non-fabric parts of an SS uniform, like badges/buttons.
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 7, 2015 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


It stands to reason that there must be an area on the ship which is dedicated towards the production of clothing. Consider that the Enterprise under Kirk was assigned a 5-year mission during which it could expect only infrequent resupply or contact with dedicated Federation outposts.

Uniforms, even ones made of tough, resilient fabric, wear out. Over the course of five years, it isn't unexpected that crewmen would need new uniforms - the ability to produce new clothing from shipboard resources would practically be a necessity.

When you further consider that the crew was expected to encounter 'new life and new civilizations' and interact with at least some of them discretely, a costuming section would be expected. Most likely, there is one or more people in the quartermaster's department who is responsible for the creation of new uniforms and local costumes as needed. It is well within the scope of 22nd century technology to remotely scan population centers for typical styles of clothing, the quartermaster would (by necessity) have the sizes for the crew members, and rapid fabric shaping is hardly a surprising capability for a culture as advanced as the Federation to have.

Thus, the Enterprise had a dedicated Wardrobe section. Presumably, the people who worked there also did general quartermaster duties as well (in short: they handled the logistics of moving materiel).

  • "It is well within the scope of 22nd century technology to remotely scan population centers for typical styles of clothing" I was talking about clothing of the 20th century... "rapid fabric shaping is hardly a surprising capability" So you think they have a big depot of textiles from different centuries? (They often mention how different the uniform’s material feels.)
    – idmean
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:16
  • Or just use the transporter to beam up appropriate clothing from the planet. A pair of pants from this store, a jacket from that warehouse...
    – Joe L.
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:21
  • @idmean: It's also possible that they have a limited replicator for clothing - not something that can do a full replication, but something that can shape raw resources into textiles. And you'd be surprised how much a style of clothing can change the feel of familiar materials (for instance, compare a 200-thread cotton sheet to a 600-thread).
    – Jeff
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:36
  • @JoeL.: While possible, I think it's unlikely. Such thefts would be minor, but probably not recommended. I seriously doubt they'd set out with no alternatives to theft for clothing their discrete away teams.
    – Jeff
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:38
  • 1
    I'm with @Jeff: Not all replication systems are the energy-based replicators from TNG. An automated sewing machine, for example, isn't beyond our capabilities today, and would be of great use on a long mission with a large crew. Such a system would make quick work of a Nazi uniform or a Roman toga.
    – Nerrolken
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:59

I had always assumed that they used the replicators to produce whatever they needed. If this is the case it's interesting to consider how much storage space the computer on Enterprise had in order to be able to cobble together a 200 year old uniform.

  • 3
    Replicators do not exist in the original series.
    – idmean
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:43
  • What were they getting their food from in the galley?
    – Doug B
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:44
  • 2
    They have a cook and a kitchen on board. (Kirk is talking to the cook in The Naked Time, for instance.)
    – idmean
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:45
  • @idmean - I looked at the transcript, Riley is the one who asks for the cooks, he's the navigator who locks himself in the engine room--he's experiencing the mind-altering effects of the disease at that point, so even though he says "Now, attention, cooks. This is your captain speaking. I would like double portions of ice cream for the entire crew" I think it's possible there are no cooks on the ship, and this is either his idea of a joke or he's just delusional.
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:11
  • @idmean - Also note that there are numerous references to food synthesizers on the original series--for example, in The Day of the Dove Kirk says "Programme the food synthesiser to accommodate our guests".
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 7, 2015 at 15:19

As there are no replicators in the 23rd century, there are "Fabrication facilities" For organic and inorganic synthesis. Thus permitting them to manufacture basic necessities. In particular uniforms and clothing of a given cultural need.

  • 1
    Do you have evidence to support your claims? May 22, 2020 at 16:46

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