Photos courtesy of Jess Farran and Gus Dapperton; Faye Wei Wei and Frederik Laboyrie.

How couples around the world are dealing with quarantine

All your favorite creatives from Faye Wei Wei to Gus Dapperton share their lockdown experiences and what's inspiring them right now.

by Nicole DeMarco
|
13 May 2020, 9:00am

Photos courtesy of Jess Farran and Gus Dapperton; Faye Wei Wei and Frederik Laboyrie.

Nearly two months after COVID-19 forced much of the world into lockdown, there still isn't an end to quarantine in sight. For couples who live together, or who've decided to spend lockdown together, this has meant countless hours (for better or for worse) in each other's company, trying out new recipes, checking turnip prices on Animal Crossing or arguing over what to binge next on Netflix. For those living separately, it's been difficult for couples to cope with self-isolating apart, but it's also forced them to explore new ways of being romantic, supportive and, well, horny from a distance.

In the hopes that we might learn a thing or two, we decided to check in with some of our favourite creative couples, from New York City to Stockholm, to see how they're holding up and what they're most looking forward to on the other side of quarantine. For some, it's touring and playing shows again and for others it's finally being reunited with their partner IRL because FaceTime just doesn't cut it. Read more below.

james-veloria

Collin James Weber & Brandon Veloria Giordano
Co-owners of James Veloria vintage clothing store in Chinatown
Currently: New York City

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Brandon: We had to close the store temporarily, so we’re working out of our apartment now selling online and through Instagram stories, which has been a big adjustment, but we’re having fun coming up with creative new ways to make it work. I’m so thankful that we’ve been able to adjust and keep our business going during all of this. It’s really strengthened our relationship working together and pushing each other to keep going.

Collin: It’s been a pretty crazy time for everyone here in NYC, but we’re so fortunate that we’ve both been healthy so far and are mostly staying sane. We really miss seeing customers face to face but we started out selling vintage online, so it kind of feels natural to go back to running our business that way. Luckily, the vintage world is much more adaptable than a lot of the rest of the fashion industry.

What has it been like quarantining together overall? How do you spend your days?
Collin: We’ve been living and working together for about five years now, so we’re pretty used to seeing each other all day everyday, but being trapped in our apartment together 24/7 was a whole new test of our relationship both as a couple and as business partners. But I think we’ve been getting along really well so far and have found little ways to create “alone time” like getting on opposite sleep schedules and working on our own projects around the apartment.

Brandon: Yeah, I think it’s pretty crazy how well we’ve managed to deal with quarantining. Collin and I have both naturally settled into separate work roles with the business, so we kind of stay out of each other’s hair during work hours and then make dinner and hang at night. Our schedules are a little staggered. I wake up early and while he sleeps in I have breakfast, look at the clothes and style out looks for stories in the evening. It’s nice to have that quiet time to myself. I pretty much spend the rest of my day playing dress up, doing Ryan Heffington's dance class, making a fool of myself on our stories and annoying our cat Lil Kim. I think she's having a harder time dealing with us being at home than we are. She's like, "What are you STILL doing here?!"

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Collin: Seeing the way Brandon styles and wears the clothing we find is really inspiring to me. Even pieces we’ve had for a while can suddenly seem really exciting again when paired with the right look. He puts so much work into showing our customers what we have available and it has really kept our business going the past couple months. Any time I start to feel lazy or uninspired, just thinking about the work that medical professionals and other essential workers are doing right now to help us all get through this scary time really motivates me to get back to work and do our little part to bring some joy to people while they’re stuck at home.

Brandon: I definitely feel inspired by medical professionals and essential workers too. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by our workload I just remember that we’re so lucky to be healthy and still be able to do what we love, and it’s hopefully making other people happy too. Collin and I inspire each other because we both have very different skill sets. He really takes his time and thinks through everything where as I’m really impulsive and sometimes jump before looking. I think we probably give each other anxiety, but it ends up being a good balance.

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Collin: I really miss thrifting. There’s nothing like the thrill of finding a treasure buried in the piles of ordinary clothing at a thrift shop. We’re still buying some new inventory online right now, but it’s just not the same.

Brandon: Yes I miss thrifting so much! I’m also looking forward to being at the store and seeing our friends who are like family to us, and going out dancing! I’ve been dancing by myself for too long already!

Cale-Chronister-and-Bailey-Lafitte

Bailey Lafitte & Cale Chronister
Interior designer; singer-songwriter for the band Sports
Currently: Los Angeles

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Cale: This is obviously messing with touring and release plans for my music. I’m also used to flying to Oklahoma every month, where the other member of Sports lives, to work on our next record. We’re working remotely as best as we can, though. We’ve managed to get a song done that we’re putting out later this month. As for my relationship with Bailey, it’s been amazing because we have so much more time together. Thinking about the life where she would leave for work every day, and I’d see her for only five hours a day seems so strange now. It’s helped make up for lost time, from being on tour in the past.

Bailey: I’m a bit of a hedonist, and COVID-19 really squanders my energy. Before the virus, I was fuelled by the ability to plan, curate and experience the world. My stability as a creative has always come from the opportunity to keep creating in the future -- my next project, my next idea. It’s been very humbling and disturbing to see how much can change for creative industries amidst this pandemic. Worrying about job security, whether or not the hospitality industry (which fuels most of the design work I do) will survive this and what the world will be like post-COVID has kept me in a cycle of anxiety in quarantine. Despite all of that, quarantine is such a reward for our relationship. We’ve been together for over ten years, and this is easily the most consecutive time we’ve been able to spend together. We’re loving it.

What has it been like quarantining together overall? How do you spend your days?
Cale: I have a studio in our bedroom and she has a set-up in the living room area, so we both get in our work zones for a chunk of the day. But there’s a lot of distraction sprinkled in. Going for walks. Picking up bread from the bakery nearby. Checking turnip prices on Animal Crossing. Playing UNO. Reading books. And at night, we party together.

Bailey: Our days have consisted of waking up at the same time (this is a new luxury) and lazily scrolling through the news, IG and emails until we’re ready to actually get up together. Our apartment turns into a WeWork pretty quickly after morning rituals. We have new interdependencies now that we work in the same space. It’s been pretty entertaining to coordinate with each other on when we have respective phone or video calls. One of us might have to go outside or bump times back. Because Cale has a studio set up in our apt, there are also times when he’s recording vocals and I have to make sure I’m not causing too much background noise in the living room, where my desk is now set up. We squeeze in a few breaks throughout the day to reconnect or to cook lunch together. By the time the day is over, we’re both ready to escape into the evening. We cook or order Postmates when we’re burnt out. We usually find ourselves in a niche YouTube hole, reading, playing games, watching our go-tos. Some nights I’ve had the energy for personal creative projects. We end the day in bed doing crossword puzzles together from the New York Times. We are both going to mourn this lifestyle ending.

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Cale: She’s her unadulterated self, and I strive to be my unadulterated self. I learn from her every day. She’s always curating an adventure. She’s an incredible artist. She works crazy hard. I’m challenged every day to not waste a moment just by being a witness. She’s a very impressive human.

Bailey: Some couples who both have creative careers often struggle to find an equilibrium. We’ve learned how to navigate imbalances. We hold space for each other to grow and evolve as individuals; we both are pursuing different mediums of expression and have a totally different set of technical skills -- however, we find so many areas of overlap and inspiration between us. It’s a wonderful synchronicity. Cale is a dream partner in life. He is so supportive, compassionate and eccentric. We match each other’s lust for life and absurdity.

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Cale: I can’t wait to play shows again. It will be electric, if the time is right. The context will just be so different. I’ll never complain about touring ever again.

Bailey: I have a fantasy about throwing a giant, pastoral, garden party to celebrate the end of this era. There is an absurd dress code involved -- and definitely a harp player.

akili-king-and-daddy-ramazani
Photo by Sara Laufer for Finn Vintage.

Akili King & Daddy Ramazani
Vogue beauty assistant; filmmaker, musician and comedian
Currently: Chicago and New York

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Akili: We're all working from home in terms of my work life. And I made the decision to come to Chicago to be with family in early March, thinking that we'd be able to return sooner than later. Now, going on my third month here, it's definitely changed my relationship in terms of not knowing the next time we'll see each other. That's really hard -- we've never really had to be away from one another indefinitely. We had to celebrate our four year anniversary away from one another, as well as my 25th -- big milestones that we've had to navigate apart, so it's been a little tough!

Daddy: I freelance as a music video director mainly, but without being able to be on set I’ve had to start focusing more on creative directing, helping artists create unique digital content and experiences in this crazy time. I do have a lot more time to just focus on my art, which is cool. I think without the physical aspect of our relationship and distractions, our bond just continues to grow as we learn different ways of supporting each other. Also, it just gives us time to reflect on our relationship and appreciate each other. I think we also are becoming more telepathic, like we’ll text or call each other at the same time or when we’re both thinking of each other.

What has it been like quarantining apart overall? How do you spend your days?
Akili: We've sadly been quarantining apart, but what's getting us through it is the fact that we've built a strong foundation and have strong communication and a solid friendship at the base of our relationship. We do Netflix Party to watch things together and make sure to text/FaceTime as much as we can. Using the Houseparty app makes things fun as well. Some nights he'll read me new pages of the script he's been working on and that's been really sweet too. He also surprised me with a zoom birthday party, which I didn't expect at all. So, I feel like we're exploring ways to be romantic and loving even from a distance -- it's really putting the strength of the relationship to a test, but I think we're passing :)

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Akili: He inspires me all the time, even beyond this pandemic. But something lately that's inspired me is his discipline when it comes to exercising daily, as well as his dedication to being creative, even in the midst of all of this. He continues to work hard and believe in his own ideas. He inspires me to do the best at what I have control over in life, and to not harp too much on the rest. He constantly proves how one can find growth in the face of adversity. In general, finding that childlike joy in as many things as I can is super important to me right now. Whether it's painting inside, doing yoga outside, journaling or watching old movies. I'm just inspired by the joy I find in the little things. And of course, the people who are at the front lines of this pandemic are inspiring me constantly; to keep going, take care of myself and others, and not to take life for granted.

Daddy: I’m always inspired by Akili. Our relationship always finds its way into my songs, films and stand up. But being apart and dealing with the feelings of loneliness has inspired me to start writing a Lost In Translation type rom com about a black Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman.

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Akili: When this is over, I'm looking forward to a world that will hopefully be transformed for the better. I don't know entirely what that will look like yet, but I hope that out of the dark will come light in the long run for this world. Personally, I'm looking forward to hugging my friends and family and spending good time with them. I look forward to pole class and the sense of confidence and community it brought me. And I'm also looking forward to a relaxing vacation with my man! I don't know where yet, but I'm dreaming of somewhere tropical to go with him.

Daddy: We just wanna cuddle!

faye-wei-wei-and-frederik

Faye Wei Wei & Frederik Laboyrie
Painter; machine learning engineer
Currently: South London

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Faye: I'm very aware of my parents who we are isolating with as they are older, so we've all just taken every precaution to stay at home and disinfect shoes as we come in and wash hands immediately, that kinda thing. It's sweet that we can spend so much time together, get together with my siblings too and really feel like a family again. In terms of painting, it's obviously quite impossible right now, my show in Vienna at Galerie Kandlhofer had to close early. I think it was open for less than a week! Lisa and I did an Instagram live studio visit on my end and she was in the gallery showing the paintings in Vienna. Other shows I had planned in Asia this summer have been postponed and no one is really sure when exhibitions will exist in real life again. But despite that, it's been really important for me to focus on painting. I feel like this time I have has forced me to make a body of work that reflects this time. My studio is full of paintings again and it feels like a gallery space just for me.

What has it been like quarantining together overall? How do you spend your days?
Faye: We have a restaurant/bar set up in my studio with fairy lights and floor seating and lots of port. The other day we cooked the crispiest pork crackling in a copper pot and helped my mother to make juicy little perfectly folded baos. We are lucky we can work from home with both our jobs and spend lots of time with my family, which I really treasure.

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Freddie: Currently at work I'm building very lightweight machine learning models for small devices, but I've been inspired by the sense of endless time to invest further time doing my own projects on a tiny computer the size of my pinky. Working in the room next to Faye's studio makes the day much more pleasant as well, she will come to me during the day pretending to be from DHL and make me sign for fictitious deliveries for kisses.

Faye: I think I've found it really hard to paint at the moment. I'm feeling really sensitive to all the sadness in London and so it's been nice to have my love with me. Drawing has also become much more important in my work -- it feels truly rewarding to complete a drawing and put all my heart into that moment on paper.

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Freddie: Walking into St John at opening and having my first sip of Claret with my dear friends.

Faye: Doing to Relais de Venise with my friends, then soho, then lots of wine, then karaoke, then dinner at Andrew Edmunds then midnight train to Disneyland Paris.

gus-dapperton-and-jess-farran

Gus Dapperton & Jess Farran
Musician; photographer/director
Currently: Brooklyn

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Gus: In terms of work it’s caused us to take all matters of visual content into our own hands, which is more limiting, but still just as fun. Life wise, we move more slowly than we usually would.

Jess: Paid work has completely stopped for me which is scary, but I actually feel a bit liberated creating outside the confines of money. It’s been a while since I’ve made art for myself, so it’s nice becoming reacquainted with photography again.

What has it been like quarantining together overall? How do you spend your days?
Gus: We already were living together, so it's not much different aside from staying inside and spending our time more loosely.

Jess: We’re together 24/7, but since we live together and both work from home it’s not much different than how we usually live. We wake up slow, eat a lot of homemade food, watch a lot of movies. It’s very wholesome. We’re blessed to be safe and content during such an unforgiving time.

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Gus: My friends and family constantly inspire me and so does Jess. They all inspire me to move forward. In particular, Jess inspires me to be innovative.

Jess: Gus is always doing what he wants, and it pushes me to do what I want too. He’s always telling me how much I deserve, so he inspires me to accomplish what I want in life. I’m actually quite homesick for my family and hometown, so I’m trying to keep close to things that remind me of them. Taking long walks and staying inspired by nature is helping a lot. I’m also attempting to cook through our family’s Lebanese recipes, which is a lot easier said then done!

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Gus: I’m looking forward to spending time with my friends, being outside and getting back to work.

Jess: Giving my mom a big hug.

arvida-bystrom-and-tarayn-sanders

Arvida Byström & Tarayn Sanders
Artist; photo producer.
Currently: Stockholm and Brooklyn

How has COVID-19 affected your life/work/relationship?
Tarayn: I had to fly home from a job in LA right when everything shut down. Since then, life has pretty much been on a complete pause. I used to travel at least once a month for work, so it feels surreal to have been in one place for such a long time. It's making the time between seeing Arvida feel even longer.

Arvida: Pretty much all work shut down, but for me it has been good in the ways that I am staying at my parents' place, spending very little money and have taken the time to do stuff I never get the time to do as a freelancer. Being self-employed, I feel like you are usually expected to do five different people's jobs. It is pretty hard at times relationship wise. Basically we don't get to see each other and that is heartbreaking! We FaceTime everyday though, and sometimes watch movies together. We met over the internet, so in one way we are pretty used to this, but it was also based on knowing we would live in the same city eventually.

What has it been like quarantining apart overall? How do you spend your days?
Tarayn: It's always the smallest things you miss -- someone to annoy or ask to play with your hair. Remembering all the things you'd do for the other that we now have to do alone.

Arvida: I really miss having coffee in bed with my my angel Tarayn. It kind of makes me cry.

In what ways do you inspire each other and what's inspiring you at the moment?
Tarayn: I'm always inspired by each new project she comes up with. I feel like a one person hype team, but I'm always so proud to see her work and create things I feel like I could never expand to think of.

Arvida: Tarayn is always so incredibly supportive of what I do. It makes me feel very blessed. What is generally inspiring for me is that I started sewing again, which I haven't done since I was 14. I just made a corset from a 1700 pattern. Also, I am doing some wood carving and some stone carving, which is incredibly fun.

What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Tarayn: Days outside together -- anywhere.

Arvida: TO SEE EACH OTHER !

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