DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Started a few years ago by a couple of childhood friends from Durham, “Runaway” is an up-and-coming clothing and lifestyle brand.
The brand, described as “urban casual,” is more than just a brand.
“We are a clothing company at the very core of our mission but that encompasses a lot of things, we’re sort of curators of art, fashion, music here in Durham and beyond,” said communications and media director Justin Laidlaw.
Most of the designs come from the artwork of the company’s founder, and Durham artist, Gabriel Eng-Goetz.
“Being able to rep the city that I grew up in, I mean I went to Durham Public Schools, my parents live here, you know… just to really be able give back in a certain way, in a creative artistic sense of it has been huge for me,” Eng-Goetz said.
“There’s a lot of variety in the culture here but there are a lot of common threads and I think the authenticity of Durham is really what holds the city together,” Laidlaw said.
The Runaway brand is also well-known for its D-U-R-M (DURM) campaign.
“It’s basically just a local pronunciation of Durham, you don’t say Dur-ham, it’s ‘Durm’… it’s really a way of hyper-localizing the brand,” said Eng-Goetz.
“It sort of exemplifies the attributes that we’re trying to convey to people when we talk about what Durham is, some of the shirts say, ‘Say it like you’re from here,’ and a lot of the southerners that are kind of born here understand why you say it ‘Durm,’” said Laidlaw.
Now, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $26,000, Runaway is opening their first storefront on Main Street in Durham.
“I realize with retail these days you can’t just open up a shop and have your products there for sale, you have to make it an experience. People want a reason to not have to shop online, they want to come to you and experience the full space,” said Eng-Goetz. “…It’s really important for us to show our audience here that we are putting forth the effort to be a part of this growing community here of young artists and musicians.”
Although much of the inspiration for the brand comes from their Durham roots, they believe people all over the world can related to their style.
“The idea of running from convention and pursuing your passions I think is universal…and we really want to be a platform that empowers people to go after that,” Laidlaw said.