Controversial Fashion Week Invitations Have Arrived

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Photo: Courtesy of Commonwealth Utilities

Menswear label Commonwealth Utilities, which once boasted Sean Avery as a muse, sent out invites to their Fashion Week show in little boxes accompanied by military medals. Style.com's Jon Connors, former captain in the Third Marine Air Wing, First Marine Expeditionary Force, found the medals offensive. His office received four different medals, which he notes are meant to be worn with dress uniforms.

The criteria for awarding these medals are specific and clear. The DFC is for — I’m paraphrasing slightly, but the full description is available here — an “act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty, an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from his/her comrades.” The Bronze Star: “heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy…” These decorations stand for something. And it’s not a seat assignment.

Connors adds that it's illegal to make the medals as well as pretend you've been awarded one when you haven't. We received an Iraq medal and knew as soon as we opened the box that people would be offended. Commonwealth Utilities designer Anthony Keegan wrote in an e-mail, "We started the collection with the concept 'An Officer and a Gentleman.' Our invitation, in fact, our entire collection is meant to pay homage to generations of the military. And the style that it commands. Nothing more." Over the phone he added, "I think the ribbons are beautiful." He did not send them out to ignite controversy. "I wasn't trying to make a political statement." We don't doubt him, but even though this is the fashion industry, that doesn't mean ex-servicemen and women don't work in it and won't be sensitive to this kind of thing.

Testing Their Medal [Style.com]