IN 2019 the award-winning multi-media company K2K Alliance & Partners (K2K) won the inaugural Overall Band of the Year with its medium mas band and launched an affiliate, Normi & Normi Inc, a luxury resort retail brand crafted for women.
In February 2020 K2K copped its sixth consecutive Medium Band of the Year title with its presentation The Greatest Show (Welcome To The Circle Called Life).
On September 1, 2021 K2K will be further diversifying with a new bridal and formal wear brand, Kev-Absolu.
Co-founders of K2K, designer twins Karen and Kathy Norman, in a release, explained the name is inspired by their younger brother, Kevin. Kev-Absolu, or Kev for short, will make its debut at a presentation entitled Scandal, Crumpets and Carnival on September 1 at Liberty House, a waterfront restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The Kev-Absolu presentation will be "designed to embody a modern twist on a bygone era" and will be presented alongside a combined presentation of K2K and Normi entitled Somewhere, in between the rush.
In an interview with the Norman twins, they explained the inspiration for Kev.
"Our younger brother, Kevin, is quite fashion-forward. We describe him as a ‘modern-minimalist.’ He has a natural curiosity for life and people. Over time, he has become quite philosophical. One evening, during one of our chit-chats he articulated a phrase that struck a chord. And this chord, inevitably became the melody and inspiration for the bridal offering.
“If you are going to fall…then fall, completely,” Kev said.
"And what do you know, we fell in love with the idea of creating a bridal capsule from a male’s perspective."
The twins said they were intrigued by their brother’s concept of life and love, and asked, “What would you expect the perfect bride to look like?”
The twins recalled they grabbed for pen and pad and his opinion would go on to shape the brand.
Kev said, “While that question may seem very binary, indeed, it has many layers. One could answer from a stylistic view, but ‘style’ is very seasonal. However, if I say, that a bride should look tasteful, then, we have a definition that is somewhat more concrete and meaningful. Although, in truth, tastefulness could be subjective. In that vein, I honestly think that it is important for a bride to select a gown that matches her personality and temperament. Personally, I would enjoy seeing a bride wear something that is chic and timeless, allowing everyone to enjoy her louder sense of sophistication.”
The twins explained Kev-Absolu is a blend of tradition and modern aesthetics, designed to embody timeless luxury and elegance.
"Inspired by a man, but created for women, Kev recognises that style is very personal. The woman is a very complex, yet delicate creature. She is gentle, yet strong. She is romantic, yet the heroine in her own story. Thus, Kev fuses those characteristics into each capsule."
They said the beauty about Kev is that it allows K2K to be with its clientele for every occasion, destination and season: bridal and formal occasions (Kev); resort destinations (Normi); and the Carnival season (K2K).
"Through these offerings, we invite our clientele to allow us to be a part of their lifestyle and home."
The twins said Kevin, like their entire family, has always been extremely supportive of K2K.
"With Kev-Absolu, it is no different. What many don’t know, is that Kevin is quite good at painting and drawing, having spent many a Saturday morning with us in formal art classes at home. In truth, our real synergy is that we all have a background in finance and art."
Maui, Oma and a Scandal
On preparations for the event in September, they said this year because of covid things are a little different.
"However, we are blessed to work with very a talented and supportive team. We continue to work with Arlene Alexander, as the main choreographer for the presentation, who has been with the brand since inception. She is working with an international team virtually, which makes the process exciting. We think the attendees will be in for a treat."
The venue is set at a waterfront restaurant in Jersey City and the twins explained the ambience ties in beautifully to Normi’s resort capsule, Oma, and the K2K’s Carnival capsule, Maui.
"Normi, whose capsule pieces are entitled Oma is inspired by animal and tribal prints. K2K, on the other hand, whose capsule pieces are entitled Maui' is inspired by floral prints. Combined they tell a unique tale of appreciating life and nature."
On the name Oma, the twins said over the last 12 months they found themselves reflecting on the past, the journey, and the road ahead.
"Oma, funny enough, is a word (we) tossed around as kids, and in truth, I’m not too sure why. It is the Carib word for path or road."
They explained with the tribal theme the beadwork for Oma has a very native underpinning.
"The juxtaposition of the beading with many of prints are inspired by nature, wildlife and tribes."
The twins said the combined presentation “Somewhere, in between the rush” speaks to "taking a ‘pause’ in between the 'rush' to appreciate life and nature."
And what about the presentation of Kev, the new kid on the block? They said Scandal, Crumpets and Carnival is the story of a Carnival bride set in the 18th century.
"It is a modern-day spin on a period piece."
On cocktails, covid and Carnival
The twins said at the event guests can enjoy the waterscape, while enjoying food and beverages during the cocktail hour. It starts at 6.30 pm with a cocktail hour and is followed by a three-course seated dinner. The presentations are split, providing entertainment throughout the evening and there is an open bar for the entire evening.
Asked if they had any concerns about covid19, the twins said, although many locations in the New York/New Jersey area have opened to full capacity, given their own inhibitions they have opted not to fill the space to its maximum capacity.
"There will only be limited seating available. In this way, we hope that our patrons would have the opportunity to enjoy the evening and feel comfortable in the space."
And on the topic of covid19, how has the pandemic impacted their luxury resort brand Normi? They said Normi is an online brand that ships globally and the slowing of the market provided an opportunity "to rethink our strategy and the path forward."
On May 3, K2K announced on its Facebook page that the band would not be on the road for Carnival 2022, which seems unlikely given the cancellation of the parade of the bands this year due to the pandemic. Asked about missing a second consecutive Carnival parade the twins said, "Although there is a feeling of nostalgia, given the uncertainty of the pandemic, K2K has decided not to be on the road in 2022. We are a very resilient people, thus, as control measures and vaccinations increase, we look forward to 2023 with new hope."
Not being on the road does not mean they will not be making mas. The brand is offering a ready-to-wear package that can be worn on either Carnival Monday or Tuesday in 2022.
"The intention of the offering is to allow the K2K family across the globe to wear a similar item on Carnival Monday or Tuesday in 2022. We hope that the package will create a sense of unity, allowing the K2K family to be together in spirit, although we will not be together in person."
The twins said the beauty of the ready-to-wear package is that it ties effortlessly into the brand’s core platform, The 365-Day Concept, which means the creation of wardrobe pieces that can be used during and after the Carnival season. The ready-to-wear capsule for K2K is the above-mentioned Maui, which is going to be "vibrant and tropical."
"We urge everyone to stay safe and healthy and encourage all to be vaccinated. With that said, join us at Liberty House where the New York Skyline, meets Ellis Island and Lady Liberty, as we celebrate life, love, and the path forward."
For more info: k2k-carnival.com or Facebook page K2K Alliance & Partners.
Photography: Gary Jordan
Makeup Artist: Bre Kali
Hairdresser: Keila Sone