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Love Rings OUT: Steven Cox & Daniel Silver

M. Sharkey

The duo behind fashion label Duckie Brown discuss their 23 year-long relationship. 

Steven Cox (left) and Daniel Silver (right) started their distinctive clothing label, Duckie Brown, back in 2001, but the two fashionable gentlemen have been together for over 20 years. Cox--who hails from London--and Silver-- who's originally from Toronto but has been living in New York City since the '80s--first met on a Fire Island beach. Fast forward over two decades and the business partners, lovers, and now married men have maintained a relationship through tremendous moments in LGBT history, from marriage equality in New York City to marriage equality nationwide. "You can only promise to love someone forever, today," Silver says. Though poignantly articulated, something tells us these two will stick together.

Out: How did you meet?

Daniel Silver: We met on the beach in Fire Island 23 years ago.

Steven Cox: The summer of 1993 or 1992. I was not out. I was least that's what I thought. We had a fire on the beach and one of his friends, Sarah, came along to the beach. She kind of brought Daniel over to see me and that's when we first met. I had not kissed a boy. I had only kissed a few girls. He became this kind of mentor for me in the beginning.

DS: I was finishing my relationship with my boyfriend at the time and Steven started to see other people. We must have gotten together six or seven months after.

What were your first impressions of one another?

DS: Cute and young.

SC: I thought he was handsome. Older, intelligent, book-read, interesting.

How did you guys go from being friends to being in a relationship?

DS: I think there was a mutual attraction and at some point that becomes the biggest thing, the elephant in the room. Then you deal with it or you don't, and we dealt with it. We dated for two years before Steven moved in. And then it took us another 18 years until we got married. Now we're up to 23 years. It's a funny thing. People look at me and say, I can't believe you've been with someone for 23 years and you can make it work and it seems good still. I have no idea how we do it. We go to therapy every week, which was a contingency early on in the relationship.

SC: I need to learn from my partner. I'm still learning and he's learning from me.


What are three qualities you feel you learn from one another?

DS: I love Steven's humor. He makes me laugh, and anyone who can make me laugh has me. I think sex is something that happens between the ears. If you're turned on to someone it's because of what's going on in your own head--and that's the thing that lasts. Also, his outside is my inside. We're the same, we just express ourselves differently. I think people who are with each other for a long time have more in common than not. I like his sense of fun. The key to getting older is to maintain humor and inquisitiveness. Steven has that and I love it about him. My world is much more fun with him than without him.

SC: I was attracted to his smarts. There was a sophistication about him. I was from a small, conservative town and he had a different upbringing than me. I was attracted to his looks, obviously, and humor--he was funny. There was a sexiness with all those things conjured up together.

When did you two get married?

D: Three years ago in New York. That to me was actually bigger than the Supreme Court decision. When it became legal in New York to marry it was like when man walked on the moon when I was a kid. It was so huge. I'm 57, so you couldn't even imagine in 1972 that gay people could even ask to get married.

SC: Before I didn't want to get married because I didn't think two men should get married. That attitude has changed now, of course, at 48.

Do you think being presented with the possibility of being married as two men made you change your how you feel?

SC: Oh yes. But for a long time it was so wrong--for two gay men to have a child, to get married. And I was gay, so isn't that ridiculous?

DS: No one can be more homophobic than gay men themselves. In the fashion industry we see that all the time. I think every group really knows how to put the nails to themselves.

So when you finally decided to tie the knot, what was the ceremony like?

DS: We went to city hall. My sister in-law and my brother in-law were there. That night we had dinner with my father. The next night we had 80 people over to our apartment in Brooklyn. It was also our 20 year anniversary. So we had an anniversary party and we told everyone when they came in that it was also our wedding party. That way we played down the wedding angle and we didn't have to deal with all the traps.

You also get everyone's authentic response.

DS: Yes. Most of the people were just angry they weren't invited.

Obviously you spend a lot of time together. How do you balance work time with relationship and personal time?

SC: Therapy is essential. We're really good at discussing issues in there and we've learned that once we leave the studio and go home that we're home. We've also learned that we need our own thing.

DS: I have my running thing, I have my cooking thing. We have stuff we love to do together and stuff we love to do separately. We're separate people. If you're with someone for more than two seconds you start to get in the rut of, Oh my god, you always do this, you never do that. But if you're with someone you've chosen to be with, isn't that the person you want to be the most caring towards, the most loving, the most generous with? The trick in a relationship is how to stay open. That's the work.

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