The name K2K still leaves people scratching their heads. After making its debut last year as one of Carnival’s newest brands, even being featured on Essence.com, the band is going into its second year still trying to stamp its presence on the wider mas-loving population. If the mas-loving population knows what’s good for them they get familiar because K2K Alliance has everything it takes to emerge as a serious front runner on the road come Carnival Monday and Tuesday. The band’s achievements in 2012 alone speaks for itself: the band placed first in Costume Design in the medium band category for the presentation Sea of Consciousness, placed first Downtown in the medium category, first in the Queen’s Park Savannah in the medium category, and fourth overall in the medium band category in the Band of the Year competition.
K2K, the brainchild of twin sisters Kathy and Karen Norman (hence the K2K), aims to marry mas with fashion. K2K’s mas is more akin to a runway show with sexy and stunning haute couture fashion. Their costumes are designed to be worn 365 days a year, says Karen, with usable pieces that can be paired with simpler items of clothing. “A lot of the costumes this year are built that way. You get more of a bang for your buck, she said, noting that they are using fashion as a way to export the Carnival tradition. “Then it becomes usable for any international person using the costume,” she said. “That’s why Essence was attracted to the band this year because the fashion element allowed them to explore Trinidad and Tobago through the band K2K,” said Kathy. The Norman sisters, who are originally from Victoria Gardens, Diego Martin, where their parents still reside, are the creative brains behind the band. Graduates of Howard University, Washington DC, with degrees in International business, they’ve nurtured a love for art since their primary school days at Maria Regina. At St Joseph's Convent Port of Spain, they both obtained first class distinctions in Art at CXC. Karen placed first regionally. At A’levels, they both pursued art among their combination of subjects and both achieved an A. Cambridge kept their portfolios to use as instructional tools.
Now investment bankers in New York, they use art as an escape from the rigours of life abroad. “When we are frustrated in the office we draw a lot, we have always loved art,” said Kathy. That’s how their first band was born and this year’s theme, The Human Race, is the second installment of a trilogy which explores human behaviour. The designs for next year’s as yet untitled theme has already been drawn, they said. Since the concept behind the band’s theme is deep, likening mankind’s journey through life to a horse race as each person strives to achieve their dream, overcoming obstacles in the process, people might believe K2K only caters to a mature, more artistic crowd. “K2K caters to a wide demographic with young professionals as its core target,” said Karen. “A lot of the pieces complement people of various ages,” she added. All sizes are welcomed too. Costumes range from small to plus size.
As the band caters to a wide demographic, so too will the clothing line that the twin plan to launch soon as one of the three pillars of the K2K brand. The haute couture line will be young, sophisticated chic and embody the fashion sensibilities of the twin, whose mother Althea is a seamstress and father Kenneth is a textile importer. The third pillar will be a foundation focused on empowering the youth. “It’s targeted towards kids at risk and we plan to do seminars and art workshops where kids can channel their negative energy to something positive through art,” said Karen. Despite sponsorship challenges the 33-year-old women are looking forward to being on the road in 2013. They described their masqueraders last year as family who rallied to help them iron out hiccups they encountered and many have vowed to return next Carnival. Karen said: “We feel stronger now that we have a committee that is giving us 120 percent support. I just want it to succeed; I think we have something different to offer.” K2K officially launched their presentation, The Human Race, last night at a gala cocktail event. For more information visit k2k-carnival.com or their Facebook page K2K Alliance&Partners.