Published Jan 4, 2019
William Shatner's Favorite Jacket
The one piece that held attention from the second it showed up on screen: The Starfleet Captain’s Bomber Jacket
By John Cooley
I love Starfleet uniforms.
I know, it’s shocking right?
With over 50 years of Star Trek, and a myriad of uniforms used throughout the Starfleet’s “history.” it’s hard to play favorites. I love ‘em all, from TOS to Discovery, there’s something to love about all of them… mostly. (I’m looking at you, Voyager Racing Uniform).
However, there’s one or two that are clear favorites of mine. As a kid during the TOS crew films, I can’t help but love the uniforms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and that entire era. And, while the whole uniform suite is rad from the jacket to the bloused, bellbottomed pants, there was one piece that held my attention from the second it showed up on screen: The Starfleet Captain’s Bomber Jacket. The moment I saw Fleet Admiral Morrow wearing it in the Officer’s Club in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, I thought it was cool. When we saw Captain Scott wearing it a scene later, I wanted one of my own. And when Captain Kirk of the Enterprise-A finally wears one in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, it became an obsession. (And, hey, it is something I can wear over my green Starfleet uniform retro shirt!)
I’ve sketched it, patterned it, planned for it, even thought about what civilian outfits I could pair it with since June of 1989.
Fictionally, the Bomber Jacket is something special in and of itself. Just like the wraparound tunics Captain Kirk wore in TOS, we’ve only ever seen people who hold the rank of Captain (or above that) wearing the jacket. That places it in a special category of “Captains” uniforms that would eventually lead to Captain Picard’s own bomber jacket uniform a generation later (and another favorite uniform piece).
[You have a lot of those, John. - Ed.]
Over the years, I collected all kinds of data, pictures and even anecdotal stories about that uniform jacket, and I became convinced that there was someone else out there who perhaps liked that jacket as much as I did…Captain Kirk himself: William Shatner. Well, think about it. He wrote and directed Star Trek V. He made choices about what Captain Kirk should wear throughout that film, and he dressed himself with that Bomber Jacket in no less than three scenes. He even paired it with civilian clothes: a pair of Levi’s and a t-shirt from Yosemite National Park (“Go Climb a Rock”).
All I needed was confirmation.
About three years ago I found myself in Hall-H at San Diego Comic Con listening to William Shatner read excerpts from David Goodman’s fantastic book, The Autobiography of Captain James T. Kirk. It was amazing hearing Captain Kirk come to life one last time.
As the presentation wrapped up, they opened the floor for a Q&A session with Mr. Shatner and, as I sat there wearing our prototype of “his” Star Trek V Bomber Jacket, I realized that I had a question for Bill. So, I stood up, smoothed out my jacket and walked over to the microphone to talk to the man who played my favorite hero of all time, and ask him about… his clothes. As I got to the mic it was author David Goodman who noticed what I was wearing and said, “He’s got your jacket.”
“I love it,” Bill quipped. Obviously, this was a man of taste and sophistication.
My question for Bill: “Did Captain Kirk have a favorite uniform, and did you have a favorite costume?”
Perhaps to be expected from someone who wore the tightest of wraparound uniforms during TOS, Bill replied: “Anything with drape.”
I love William Shatner.
… and from that love, I’m proud to let you know that our Final Frontier Captain Kirk Bomber Jacket is nearly ready to make its debut.
We thoroughly researched every scrap of information we could find on the original jacket, and then selected an ultrasuede for it that would present just the look we wanted while allowing the end-wearer to customize it as they seem fit with Starfleet accouterments. This includes our replica of the Starfleet Officer’s Insignia Badge, which is only available with our uniform offerings (and not separately).
This jacket has been a very personal project for all of us, and it has taken years of research and development to create something truly special — a Starfleet jacket that could boldly go with either a whole uniform, or a t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans.
John Cooley is a lifelong Star Trek fan and one of the Star Trek product designers at ANOVOS.