Up until March, the social set was hanging out at downtown hotspots like the Butterfly. Now, they’re doing it online. After navigating quarantine and social distancing for more than a month, social New Yorkers have become experts at hanging out without being in contact. Zoom and FaceTime now stand in for everything from bars to boardrooms.
In an unexpected move, galas, balls, and even art fairs are finding their way into digital spheres.
Unsurprisingly, leading this charge to a new era of socializing is the social set themselves. From events like Zoomtopia to drop-in sessions organized on Instagram Live, many have figured out how to bring the party online.
“Virtual parties are fun,” explains Igee Okafor, an influencer and editor who takes part in as many digital events as possible. “There might be DJs, comedians, poets, singers. We create a hub for people to come in to, have a good time, and feel like they’re not alone. So they’re walking away from the situation either having met someone new, made a new friend, or discovered a new artist or talent.”
For the influencer set in particular, staying indoors has poses unique challenges for creating content. Many have pivoted to posting leisurely shots that promote sheltering in place and self care. Others (Okafor included) have doubled down on their commitment to fashion, and are continuing to showcase their personal style.
“When the quarantine hit I took a break from posting because I really wanted to be present in the experience, [and] define what it meant to me” he says. “But at the core of it, my content strand is still the same. It’s all about empowering people to be the best versions of themselves and realizing that they’re capable of empowering themselves and they don’t need to depend on external factors to do that.”
Okafor’s men’s style publication, Bond Official, has been finding creative solutions to producing stories. Unable to conduct the usual in-depth interviews and photoshoots, the team is now launching a section called “The Journal,” in which its subjects write about themselves.
“It can range from anything to relationship, to sex, to work worries or health experiences,” he explains. “We’re creating a community for men to feel like they know each other, make new friends, or learn something new. That really applies to the way a modern man is living in today’s time.”
Though the general mood is focused on keeping in touch and connected with other people at all costs, the limitations of social distancing are pushing many to discover more about themselves.
“It’s so interesting because creating content you’re sort of limited to location and you’re confined to what you’re able to do with how many collaborators you’re able to do it with,” says Okafor. “And [now] I’ve just sort of been resetting to see what’s possible with one person. That’s where my creative has been going.”