CUT IT OUT!: A Call For Action with a Cutting Edge
By H.M. Shaw
Does this make you uncomfortable? A little bit jarred? A lot a bit red hot? Pissed? The man may be sporting the uniform, but doesn’t he seem more cowardly than heroic? The young army wife may be scantily clad, but doesn’t her exposed flesh make us think that her body is and will continue to be imposed upon again and again?
At first impression this may seem like yet another frightening fashion fantasy—no different than what we see in television, film, music videos, and even video games. So what is another play-by-play of a power struggle between a man and woman, right? But we dare you to tell that to those who fight every day or continue live with the aftermath of these daily battles here in the real world. The abrasions and tears replace security and respect when someone decides to abuse their partner whether sexually, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
For a recent photoshoot , photographer Cheryl Gorski wanted to deliver a much deeper message that goes beyond Doc Martins and dark eye make-up. Cut It Out may center around re-cycled surplus digs and the ’90s revival, but this spread is first and foremost about the harrows of partner abuse. Notice that these models are dressed (and undressed) to represent individuals torn between the suffering as a means of survival and a false sense of security.
“Most victims, survivors, and abusers are so attracted to one another that somehow in the relationship passion fused with jealousy, insecurity, and fear results in abuse,” said Gorski. “If there wasn’t love in the mix, there wouldn’t be tolerance.”

The power of the military aesthetic used in this shoot should be taken into account. Gorski went on to share that she was inspired by the prevalence of partner abuse in military families. Aside from raising awareness, having partners shown as wounded soldiers or soldiers’ partners is used to remind us that abuse is an ongoing battle for those entangled in the violence as well as for our society as a whole.
In fact, Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters‘ owner Robert Geist, and VP of brandingLou Schreiber, enthusiastically participated in this project in hopes to shed light on domestic violence in the armed services.
The wardrobe for for this project was meant to match a raw depiction of a war-torn world that exists in abusive partnerships—a war that wages on the lives of abusers and survivors. OMI of Saione and stylist Edward Lewis put much heart into every piece reconstructed and deconstructed in order to amplify this shoot’s deafening storyline. For instance, Lewis’ mosquito net dress is more than just sexy mesh. This reconstructed frock mirrors the fragile state that one is left in during and after being victimized by a loved one.
As for OMI’s newly imaged fatigues, these were ideal for costuming a male who is locked into a macho role. Let us not forget, when a man is abusive, he is certain that he is asserting himself. If a man is being abused, he often feels that he must continue to hide behind the “tough-guise,” if you will, as a means of hiding shame and humiliation.
The harness worn by both models symbolizes “ to bind , armour , control and make use of ( natural resources) , especially to produce energy. “
LeeLee‘s Clothing brought a bright fuchsia cut-out dress—a delightful throwback to the Clinton era as well as a stand-out embodiment of how abuse may shape a woman, designed by Trina Turk. She finds herself adhering to the demand to be soft and composed on the outside, but the iron-clad fighter inside cannot be contained. Turk’s black jumpsuit paired with a beret beautifully reflects a woman who has seen survived many explosions and ambushes while her vulnerability is worn like a badge of honor rather than a cross to bare.
Along with inspiration for Spring 2015, the spread intends to evoke courage for survivors of abuse and their supporters. Unfortunately, we are quick to ignore the push-and-pull between partners that is marketed to as nearly as often as the season’s hottest trends. Gorski, like other advocates, wants viewers to take the time to speak out and put an end to the bloodshed.
“There are too many instances when one loves too strongly, or one posses another, learning the red flags can help [you] avoid unhealthy relationships,” Gorskisaid. “Mostly, I’d live this to help someone get the courage to leave and get counseling whether they are abused or an abuser.”
Before you suit up in any fatigues and pump up the volume in your tresses Gen-X-style, we here at Fashion Maniac urge you to learn about what you can do to further educate yourself and end abuse. “You should never be afraid of the person you love.”

If you want to help build an arsenal against domestic violence, tape yourself saying, “Cut It Out!” and send your video to:
For more information and support, please reach out to:
The Family Justice Center
It Happened To Alexa Foundation
Credits and Contributions For The Shoot:
Photography By Cheryl Gorski
Hair By: Hersha McKinney and LaShawn Adamson
Make-Up By: Dani Weiser