Runaway Winter Release Party
and the Challenges of Authenticity

DJ Trandle at Runaway Winter Party

Full disclosure: Columnist Justin Laidlaw currently serves as Marketing Associate at RUNAWAY.

Back in April, we told you that the RUNAWAY Spring Release Party was the “party of the year.” We told you it would be hard to dethrone such a baller event.

We were right.

We did it nonetheless.

The RUNAWAY team took to the streets once again, landing at Nomadic Trading Company for the debut of the 2014 Winter collection.

If you are not familiar with Nomadic Trading, the beautiful aesthetic and unique Turkish treasures are can be incredibly stimulating, so the choice to host our event in a such a place was one of the easier decisions we’ve had to make as a team.

Our community, on the other hand, has to make much tougher decisions in the months to come about the direction of our city. Just up the road, the remains of Liberty Warehouse, as Sean Wilson aptly stated, “looks like a moonscape.” What will take its place reminds us that together we built a destination that people across the country want to call home.

Some of the more prominent contributors to The Durham Effect were in attendance for the Winter Release Party. People filled with fear and excitement, skepticism and optimism, about what will happen to Durham.

For four hours, we could all forget our doubts about the future and celebrate our collective achievement.

Durham: Realer Than Your City.

Professor Toon DJ Trandle Runaway Winter Release

The definition of real is not concrete. For Durham, it is a standard of authenticity. No matter who you are, no matter your walk of life, the door is open for you.

There is no hierarchy.

Veterans in the game mingled with up-and-comers and reflect that authenticity.

DJ Trandle, a rising star in the Durty Durham arts collective, and DJ Shahzad, a staple in the NC Hip-Hop community, exemplified that dynamic with two separate but equally entertaining sets that packed the dance floor full of good lookin’ Durhamites.


Fans of the brand also recognize that authenticity may come with a price. Heather Hester, mother and long time Durham resident, was stern in her opposition to the (in)famous “Shot In Durham” shirt because of its negative portrayal of the community. Nonetheless, she continues to support RUNAWAY as she is drawn to that same *grit and scrappy nature” that the brand exemplifies. Hester now rocks the Realer Than Your City hoodie as a sense of pride, that is, when her teenage daughter Maria “hasn’t borrowed it for herself.”

Beyond the clothing, the brand strives to represent Durham’s own authenticity, and on November 22nd, the city gravitated towards that essence surrounding Nomadic Trading Company.

The influence of The Durham Effect continues to manifest itself and give confidence to anyone uncertain about the road our community is poised to travel.

Columnist Justin Laidlaw is a renaissance man. His interests range from the music business to politics, from Durham’s history and culture, to the world beyond. The co-host of Clarion Content’s podcast, he is fast becoming a veteran columnist. He is a fashion model, a tech sceptic, a business manager and more.

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