The Bulletproof Collection

Posted on 13 November 2016

A Brief History

1,206 North Carolinians were killed by guns in 2014.

3% of the total firearm-related deaths nationwide in the same year (according to the Center for Disease Control).

Not coincidentally, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice were all killed in 2014 during encounters with police.

Black Lives Matter and other human rights activists have sparked an impassioned, necessary national conversation about the issue of guns, policing and race. Lost in the dialogue is the fact that gun deaths due to policing are only a fraction of the gun-related casualties suffered every year in the United States. These other symptoms (domestic abuse, homicide, suicide, etc) have an equally as important impact on our communities and need solutions.

Where Art Becomes Activism

In its original inception, the design, without the number emblazoned across the front, stood as a general commentary on North Carolina’s relationship with guns . Later, we decided that there was a deeper story to be told, and the outline alone wasn’t enough. The design was hollow, literally and figuratively. Adding 1,206 was an entry point into the conversation we wanted to encourage people to have within their communities.


Durham has its own longstanding relationship with guns and firearm-related deaths. For years, Durham was the part of the Pride Land the light didn’t touch, fighting the stereotypes and judgment from neighboring Raleigh and Chapel Hill about being overrun with drugs, gangs and violence. While it was disheartening, it fueled pride for the city. The turmoil made us gritty but the diversity gave us character.

This contrast led to the now (in)famous I’d rather be shot in Durham than die of boredom in Cary shirt. Similar to the Bulletproof collection, it was a commentary on a controversial issue that opened the door for fans and detractors to engage in a conversation about an important topic in our community.

In the face of urban development that is now sweeping through the Triangle, we aim to remind people that we cannot simply build on top of the problems that still plague our cities to this day. This is not an endorsement of those issues for the sake of character, but Durham’s flaws are partially what made it attractive to begin with. They were its gift and curse.

Like most of the country, our history is not immaculate, but we strive to learn from our mistakes and shortcomings while retaining our authenticity. If not, we could become Anywhere, USA.

Or worse, Cary.

RUNAWAY is not equipped to be the voice for gun violence, but through design and fashion, we can provide financial support to qualified groups and individuals who have dedicated their work to finding solutions.

If you would like to support the campaign, you can donate directly to North Carolinians Against Gun Violence or buy the Bulletproof collection from our online store.

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