right (noun) vs. right (adj)

Yesterday marked a significant event in modern American history, and a day that I will never forget because of the conflicting and simultaneous emotions it evoked in me.  Fear—for my father’s safety, and the safety of other friends and relatives.  Profound sadness—for the tragic loss of life and devastating ways in which so many people’s lives changed forever.  Patriotic pride—in the courage and dedication of everyone who risked their lives to save others, and the enduring vivacity of the American spirit.  And, most powerfully, a sense of duty—to earn the  privilege of life, of freedom, and to make honorable use of the benefits gained by the sacrifice of those September 11th heroes.

So what do we now make of this question of rights in America so tightly interwoven with fear, terrorism, politics, religion, and recent history?  From Islamic structures to book-burning, presence in this country endows everyone with certain rights.  Rights to build, and rights to burn.  Rights to create and rights to destroy.  Rights to incite and rights to encourage.  But it is my position that although one possesses the right (noun) to act in a specific manner, it does not follow that said action is right (adjective), morally and ethically speaking.  In other words, just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD.

And finally, what in the world does any of this have to do with a fashion & style blog?  I would go so far as to say that politics and fashion are inseparable.  I don’t at all believe that fashion need be partisan; quite on the contrary, but anyone with an appreciation for color and structure can hardly deny that fashion serves as a vessel for information and expression.  It is potent and audible.  And whether you choose to adorn yourself in Levis or Lanvin, whether you shop in thrift stores or department stores, everyone must leave a little room for the subtleties.  Where is style and grace without sensitivity?  Where is poise and class without discretion?  These are timeless and universally-flattering commodities that cannot be purchased.

Left: Designer Brian Lichtenberg uses Americana inspired designs for recording artist Yelle. Right: Chanel uses Americana inspired designs for Spring 2008 runway.

Dress designed by Victor and Rolf for their Spring 2007 collection. Translated American Ballroom principles into ready-to-wear.

[Photos courtesy http://www.lasplash.com]

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