It’s remarkable that a costume worn mostly by extras in a single season of an 80s TV show – a season many believe to be its worst – was memorable enough to still be a topic of discussion decades later, even amongst an entirely new generation of viewers.
Indeed, despite – or perhaps because of – its niche context, it’s probably grown more popular over the subsequent decades, both among cosplayers and the fandom as a whole.
The physical design of the TNG skant itself was bizarre, and whatever else may be said of William Ware Theiss and his singular design style, I believe his general creativity and willingness to think “out-of-the-box” are worthy of great respect.
For some, the enduring fascination with this particular costume may go beyond the aesthetic, and be at least partly rooted in its psychology and “statement” about gender equality.
Right off the bat, in The Next Generation‘s pilot, we saw that both male and female crew members had the option of wearing either uniform style (jumpsuit or skant).
There was never a single word of dialogue spoken about it, since it was presented as commonplace and unworthy of notice or remark by the characters. Both uniform styles were truly unisex.
This may be part of why the TNG “skant” uniforms are still fondly remembered – even celebrated – by many today … not necessarily because it’s from everyone’s favorite season of everyone’s favorite incarnation of Star Trek, but because it stands as an icon for gender equality and represents the idea of a future free of sexism.
Then again, some people may think they’re just plain cool. 🙂
While perhaps a brave attempt to portray gender equality in the future, ultimately whether or not it was successful is a matter of personal opinion.
A bold, nonconformist, optimistic presentation of the future which was sadly abandoned far too soon?
A brilliant idea in theory, though perhaps not realized to its fullest potential?
A thoughtful, magnanimous sentiment that was, perhaps, poorly executed?
A fun (albeit short-lived) experiment, immediately going out on a limb just to make a point?
A polite indulgence on behalf of Gene Roddenberry and/or William Ware Theiss?
A well-meaning gesture which ultimately backfired, since male TNG skant-wearers rapidly disappeared and we were left roughly where we started, with most men wearing jumpsuits and lots of women in teeny skants?
An overall embarrassing entry into the Starfleet uniform canon?
Any combination of the above? Another opinion entirely?
Regardless, over thirty years later, here we are discussing it, so it certainly made a lasting impression!
Congratulations on finishing my analysis of the TNG skants!
I know, after that massive info-dump, you might feel like this: