"Shot in Durham" shirt draws controversy

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 06:09 PM

Reaction “mixed” to new Durham shirt: A Durham-based company that got its start two years ago designing and selling Bull City-related T-shirts has gotten mixed reactions from a new shirt that began pre-selling online Thursday, according to the founder.

The shirt is printed with the words “I’d rather be shot in Durham than die of boredom in Cary.” Gabe Eng-Goetz, the founder of the Durham-based clothing design company Runaway, said the shirt is meant to be a joke that plays into stereotypes.

“This was playing up on stereotypes that have been around for awhile,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not saying these stereotypes are true; today, obviously, both places are changing a lot.”

Eng-Goetz said he works primarily as a freelance artist and designer. He runs the clothing design business on the side. He started the company in the summer of 2011, and now has designs in seven stores in the Triangle, six of them in Durham. He anticipates that one or two of the retailers that carry his designs now will carry the new shirt.

“Our demographic is younger -- we like to be kind of edgy -- so basically we just thought this would get some good publicity, and it obviously has,” he said. “I’m interested to see, you know, people’s reactions. I’m already seeing mixed reactions. I’m not out there to offend anyone.”

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