In the Star Trek: Discovery episode "Lethe", Burnham and Tilly wear workout clothes that have the word "Disco" on them.

Star Trek: Discovery — disco shirts

Why is this? This is the first time I can ever recall of anybody in Starfleet wearing branded t-shirts (seems that marketing went away along with money in the 23rd Century). And promoting a "late 20th century music trend" seems like a really odd choice, despite the future's fondness for our pop culture.

Why are Burnham and Tilly wearing "Disco" shirts?

EDIT: I feel like an idiot for just now realizing that "Disco" is probably short for "Discovery", but I think the question remains: why are they wearing these shirts? We don't see Kirk or Picard's crew wearing "Enter" t-shirts in their off-hours. Why wear t-shirts with logos that are shortened versions of the ship's name, when that is so contrary to every other example we have of 23rd Century fashion?

  • 3
    Why do you think that something that people are seen wearing is contrary to their century's fashion? If they are wearing a style that style can't be considered contrary to their decade's or year's fashion. You could just assume that it was fashionable and/or allowed by regulations in the era of Discovery and not in the era of TOS a decade later. Jan 6, 2018 at 6:12
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    Out of universe: so there's a piece of merchandise that can be sold.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jan 6, 2018 at 8:41
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    Ships also have nicknames. For example, the aircraft carriers named Enterprise were nicknamed "The Big E" or "Lucky E". If that nickname was applied to the starships, the crew may have off-duty wear that has that name on it. Since many Federation starships share names with naval ships, this Wikipedia article has a nice list of nicknames of naval vessels. Jan 6, 2018 at 13:20
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    Cause Disco will never die
    – Revenant
    Jan 6, 2018 at 20:50
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    Incidentally, it seems to me that a shirt reading ENTER could cause ... some rather unfortunate misunderstandings. Jan 6, 2018 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


According to Memory Alpha, quoting After Trek:

None of the DIS writers were aware that t-shirts labeled "DISCO" were being created or used until they saw some of the footage from this episode.

So out of universe, there was definitely no deep meaning to it.

... which suggests that in-universe, there may have been no deep meaning to it either. Whoever was responsible for clothing the crew may have just had a slightly quirky sense of humour and/or an interest in historical musical styles. Both Riker and Sisko had hobbies related to our era, so this wouldn't be unprecedented.

  • 1
    in 1x11 "The Wolf Inside", at the beginning of the first scene in the spore room, there's a PA announcement that says "Navigation tech report to the shuttle bay for maintenance on Disco 1". Apparently, they call their shuttles by this name as well. Jan 21, 2018 at 20:31
  • LOL! They shoot without coordinating?
    – user931
    Dec 29, 2020 at 5:49
  • @11.01.11 You mean they shoot without running every costume choice past the writers? Yes, because that’s how television works. Dec 29, 2020 at 9:39

Disco also means "I learn" or "I am learning" in Latin which is fitting for the trainees to wear this t-shirt.

  • 1
    This is a nice explanation but do you have any evidence that this is actually why they were wearing them that you could edit in? Either in or our of universe.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 21, 2019 at 13:26
  • Burnham wasn't a trainee (cadet). She was an unranked "specialist". Nov 21, 2019 at 22:20

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