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By Travis "Featherhawk" Snyder - Owner/Creator/Designer of Kut-Up Fitwear
On December 22nd 2011, the cell door slammed shut, leaving me with only a shadow of myself. There I stood in front of that cold faint light in clothing carved from canvas, clutching my head and preparing myself for what would be the hardest, inescapable cage fight of my life. I was arrested and locked in a jail cell during what was "the worst" of my long time addiction to heroin. My body and soul had been taken over by the demons I myself had created. These demons did not hesitate to keep me fearful of the coming pain and withdrawal. They took over my thoughts and filled them with desperation, pain, suffering, and hopelessness. Little did I know that I already had in my clutches one of the most powerful demon fighting weapons available. As I let go of everything I thought I knew about life... the grip on this weapon started to tighten. Even as my body weakened, the weapon grew stronger. Being stripped of what I thought was everything, allowed for me to have complete trust in this weapon. My weapon is the light of change through trusting the god of my understanding. And after 16 days of fighting, that light of change which I kept so close to my heart had allowed me to have a profound spiritual awakening. In that moment, I knew I wanted to live a better life, but what I had yet to realize was how much purpose my new life would begin to have.
On the 18th of May 2012, on bail and after 28 days of intensive rehab, I was released into the public to begin a new life. A new attitude of gratitude, the love and support from my family and a healthy addiction to working out, became "the mortar" in the foundation for me to be able to remain clean and sober, and to be able to do it one day at a time. My mind and body had been stripped of all its demons… so what remained was a very raw, very vulnerable, very open wound. Being uncertain of my future could have easily brought me back to the dark, but I chose life, and in order for that wound to heal into a beautiful scar, I had to learn how to be mindful of every single thought, every single decision and every single move I made. When I wasn't at meetings, I was at the gym or attending outpatient rehab. During the last meeting with my outpatient counselor she asked me "what do you want to do with your life, Travis?" I distinctly remember saying "I want to make cool stuff for people, I want to give it a cool logo, then I want to create the website to sell the stuff, and I want to do it all so I can help others."
Rediscovering myself became a huge part of my new-found way of living. I have always been blessed with the ability to conceptualize ideas and then bring them life, but it wasn't until "The Change" that I was able to completely manifest my visions into reality. In the Fall of 2012 and after a summer of personal gainz both physically and mentally- I was asked by a long time friend if I wanted to compete in a natural bodybuilding competition. My answer was yes, and so he and I began to train for a competition that was coming in April of 2013. During our training sessions we would always throw out the phrase "Shut Up and Kut-Up." We used the phrase so much that it became our gym mantra. This mantra fell right into place beside the style and concept, which came from me using a scissors to "Kut-Up" all my extra large tees, and then sew them back together as form fitting sleeveless rave shirts. I found myself wearing these highly decorated shirts to the gym all the time. So eventually I would put two and two together and make a shirt with red iron on letters that read "Kut-Up Fitness." It wasn't long until I found myself designing logos in Corel Draw, and after a few long session in front of my computer I produced the very logos you see today! The brand was born and it now it had it's logos. The next step was figuring out how I was going to get the logos from my computer and put them onto some shirts, and do it on a budget. After a little research I found a Do-It-Yourself screen printing setup that I was able to purchase at a craft store. And so it began...
Initially the vision and products were pretty straight forward. For testing reasons I made and presented one shirt design that was available with matching thread and logo colors, and at the time the logo was still Kut-Up Fitness. Testing the waters became very beneficial and brought me to realize the massive amounts of potential that my soon-to-be brand really had. Understanding Kut-Up's potential also made me realize I needed a substantial amount of time to expand on my initial vision. I'm very grateful that I made this choice. Giving myself 15 months to allow the vision to grow turned out to be a very good decision for many reasons. One good thing that happened was the change from "Fitness" to "Fitwear." I did this because many people thought we were a gym instead of an apparel brand. Another good result for letting the vision evolve is that it gave me time to develop new,interesting and highly modified products . That and it also gave me time to grow as a person, and every person, every interaction, every moment and every experience that I absorbed in this new leg of my journey has brought even more purpose and clarity to the direction in which Kut-Up Fitwear is heading.
Kut-Up Fitwear is expanding into the universe. It has become way more than lifestyle apparel, and more than a lifestyle apparel brand... it has become a way of life. It has become a brand that represents positive actions and the will to make positive changes while helping others do the same. It represents searching inside ourselves to become the best people we can possibly be, and doing this every single day! It represents being grateful, thankful, caring and loving beings, filled with good intentions. It represents hard work, passion, and intensity during the pursuit and fulfillment of a purposeful life. It represents family and the unbreakable bond formed when people come together to show love and support for each other. All of this can be summed up with one single image: