For my first interview with Senclaire, I got the chance to talk with Craig Nelson, owner of the unique clothing brand RUNAWAY. Coming out of Jacksonville, Craig is putting his own spin on fashion with clothes that you can wear with just about anything. Even though the company has only produced garments at this point, Craig has stated that he plans on expanding to accessories and other items as well. This brand is definitely worth watching out for.
Who are you?
Where are you from?
I was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Jacksonville, FL.
How long have you been working on this brand?
I began coming up with concepts for it about 2 years ago but I really started taking it all serious last year.
What made you decide to take it more seriously?
It’s crazy. One day I was in the mall, and I rarely go to the mall, but I was there, and my homies decided to walk into zumies. So I get inside of zumies and I see all of this Stussy, and 10 Deep, and The Hundreds, and etc. and it just instantly made me angry. Like these were all of my favorite sacred brands and they had all sold out to these corporate stores. That’s when I decided I would be better off putting my own designs on t-shirts, and that lead to me studying up more on streetwear and expanding my knowledge for it.
What exactly made you want to start designing clothes?
Being in Wish ATL one day and thinking how lame 8/10 of the brands were in there. It made me think beyond just making t-shirts, which lead to me getting into outerwear garments and shit. How I see it, anyone right now can make t-shirts but it takes skill to design a piece. A good piece at least.
Who are your biggest influences?
A huge influence for me would be Erik Brunetti. He basically cultivated streetwear “culture” and set the stepping stone for people wanting to make literally whatever the fuck they want. Jason Dill as well, and Larry Clark. Harmony Korine also helped me realize you can make whatever it is that you want.
Who is your audience?
My target audience would definitely be the younger crowd. “The youth” as most would say. I fucking hate that word but hey… That’s the crowd that I’m sure understands my direction more than any other, and I want them to. I want the outcasts out there to feel like they have something they can represent, and something that represents them.
How do you plan on expanding your brand?
I’m just trying to get out here. Whoever wants to wear my shit can wear it, there’s no specific demographic for it. I’m pretty sure no adults find it appealing though, at least not now. My designs can be vulgar at times. I plan on expanding by hitting the streets. In 2017 I’m trying to travel the world as much as possible. It’s the best way to get out here. You can have this social media shit on smash but if you’re not out here giving the people a reason to feel you then they’re not going to. You have to get out here, physically and virtually.
Are you solo or do you have a team?
I’m solo, but I’ve been searching to put together a solid team. This shit can be pretty tiring. As of now I’m in charge of everything from designs to packaging orders and shipping them off.
Did the area you grew up in influence your work? Does social media take a part?
Somewhat. I wouldn’t say it influences my work but it definitely influences the way I think. It’s pretty tough here and I doubt I’d be half the person I am now had I grew up anywhere else.
Social media plays the biggest role in running a brand, especially for me. There are people in other states that I’ve never ever met in my life that own my clothing and it wouldn’t have been made possible without social media. Mostly twitter, they don’t really fuck with me on Instagram though for some reason.
What would you categorize your brand as?
I actually don’t categorize my brand as an actual brand. I want it to feel more like a brigade, a family. Like I said earlier, I want people to feel like RUNAWAY is something that represents them.
What would you say makes you stand out from other brands?
I actually live for this shit, and I will die for it. A lot of people are doing the same exact thing I’m doing but they’re not passionate. They lack knowledge of history, and that’s because it’s so easy to put a design on a shirt now and maybe even easier to make money off it given the platforms that are out there for us. You can tell the ones who know their shit and the ones who are lost.
Have you thought about making products other than garments? Bags, accessories, etc.
Definitely. Right now it’s just all about making the money to fund those types of items and finding the resources to do it all correctly, of course.
How do you come up with new ideas?
It’s all random. My first t-shirt design ever literally came from my cousin getting arrested for robbery. It read “hit a lick” on the front with a description and like, a bunch of ski masks. I always try to stem ideas from real life situations.
What public figure would you wanna see rocking your shit and why?
I don’t know man, I don’t really fuck with celebrities, but if El Chapo is considered a public figure then it would be fire to see El Chapo in a RUNAWAY tee or something. I know it’ll never happen but whatever, it’d be cool.
Do you have anymore plans for film?
Hell yeah. Actual plans. The short film I released recently was really just off the strength of me and my homies smoking and thinking of some shit to do. I actually have plots for shit I want to do in the future.
What are your plans and what do you hope for the future?
My plans are to just keep at it. I’m trying to work as much as possible and keep my calendar filled throughout the whole year of 2017. The ultimate goal for the future is to open up a store and to somehow give back all that I’ve taken from this earth.