I would like to post a costume study on the Cardassian Military Uniform featured heavily in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This incredibly beautiful uniform was purchased through the IAW (It’s A Wrap) auctions years ago by my good friend and collector Alec Peters. This specific uniform was worn by Garek (Andrew J. Robinson), one, if not the best characters that came from the series.
The uniforms are broken down into “types”, specifically type A, B, and C. Seen above in very early concept artwork for the Cardassians featured in TNG is the Type C uniform, a heavily padded uniform worn in the late 2360’s. This later changed to more noticeable Type B uniforms, which this Garek uniform is. These were made by Robert Blackman, who made 12 for use in the DS9 pilot episode “Emissary”, and re-used 11 later in TNG.
These uniforms feature a blue spandex and polyester under-suit, with long sewn in “ruffles” running on the sides down to the legs. The chest piece is made of foam latex, the arm sections are cast separately and attached, the zippers are on the back running along the lines of the armor. The uniform features green plates, two on each side of the abdomen and two on each elbow, it is completed by a pair of green boots, with added foam coverings with cast in detail.
The chest-plate features an attached “Division Stripe”. These were interchangeable on each uniform and are believed to feature rank, but the exact nature of what the stripe denotes is unknown. The stripe is also made of foam latex and attaches via three sections of Velcro. Another added feature is a dense foam holster, as seen below it is attached to the uniform via a belt and leg strap, and has been cast to fit the Cardassian phaser perfectly. Note: Replica phaser pictured for display purposes.
The Cardassian design in my mind is what truly sold the characters in Deep Space Nine. From the makeup, the costumes, to the architecture, the production went to great lengths to flesh out these aliens and make them special for the viewer. The military uniforms stand out as well crafted works of art, and went from a padded boxy rust-colored suits, to the beautiful, semi-medivial looking garb we saw in the finale of DS9.