An image of Moto Guo and Kinder Eng, a couple that works together

Surviving and thriving as partners in life and work

Mixing business and pleasure isn’t always a bad idea – in fact, some swear by it. We speak to three creative couples about the unparalleled benefits that this kind of relationship can bring, how to avoid disasters and the value of letting go of barriers

A quick peruse on the internet will bring up some of history’s most prolific creative couples. The art world annals are full of high-profile examples: from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Marina Abramović and Ulay, not to mention the many artist-muse relationships that often spilled over into romance. The majority of these examples stem from the 20th century – but what is it like to be a present-day creative couple, where the rhythms of life are markedly different and career independence is highly sought after?

In writing this piece, I discovered just how tenuous these ventures can be – some creative couples I initially found in my research were no longer together, and needless to say, when either a work or romantic relationship falters, the other nearly always goes down with it. To get a feel for the highs and lows that come with being partners in both work and life, we spoke to three couples who collaborate across fashion, architecture, art, design and beyond.

Malaysian fashion design duo Moto Guo and Kinder Eng met in 2011 at Raffles College of Higher Education, a design and business college in Kuala Lumpur, and have been in a relationship pretty much ever since. When Guo launched his eponymous label (with co-founder Jay Ang) in 2015, he enlisted Eng as his personal assistant, before appointing him as co-creative director the following year. The pair have since gone on to produce a stream of riotous Motoguo collections, which have shown at Fashion Weeks in Shanghai, Milan and Tokyo.

Moto Guo and Kinder Eng, a couple that works together
Top: Moto Guo and Kinder Eng. This image: Guo (L) and Eng (R)