Trinidad’s K2K has been innovating with their mas designs since debuting their award-winning medium Carnival band in 2012. Now they’ve moved into the NFT and metaverse landscape. Karen and Kathy Norman, the twin designers and investment bankers behind K2K, talk about what this means for mas — as told to Caroline Taylor
Our training is in art. So, for us mas is an extension of the arts (painting, drawing, storytelling, music, theatre). All our collections are very organic. We use mas as a medium to tell social commentary as well as personal stories. For us, all of our brands are an extension of our lived experiences.
When we were little girls, we were extremely excited to witness Peter Minshall’s costumes in the opening ceremony at the Atlanta Olympic Games. As adults, the question we keep on asking ourselves is, how do we continue to elevate, innovate, and evolve Carnival?
During the two-year break due to COVID-19, we had an opportunity to really rethink our strategy. We knew that we really wanted to keep on pushing the brand. We wanted to drive innovation. With K2K’s focus on sustainable fashion through its 365-Day Concept, the metaverse and the evolution of digital avenues presented promising new routes for consumer engagement.
While no one quite agrees on how to perfectly define the metaverse, there is no refuting that we are already bearing witness to its potential and the future impact it may have on society. To K2K, the metaverse is the merging of physical and digital realities, which is enabled by various immersive technologies like AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality). While they are gateways into the metaverse, other pathways exist, which include but are not limited to blockchain technology and by extension Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
At K2K, we believe the metaverse to be an extension of creative identities and digital ownership. It is a platform for commerce, whether that be physical-to-virtual or virtual-to-physical. Ultimately, we believe that the metaverse is a platform for commerce, which will evolve over time.
Our intention is to bring our unique perspective to the digital evolution in two phases. Phase one is the development of a K2K-exclusive avatar to showcase K2K’s collections. For the 2023 collection, garments have been showcased on K2K avatar renderings.
The garments on these renderings can be purchased, highlighting the transition from digital to real-world commercial activity. The intent is to bring these characters from a 3D rendering to an animated form. Phase two is the curation of the K2K-NFT, the world’s first NFT carnival membership experience.
The token-holder obtains access to exclusive social experiences and benefits. The K2K-NFT represents a collection of digital membership passes provided by K2K, and is an evolution of our commerce platform. It is the convergence of a digital and physical reality.
Many of us know that the NFT universe is known for its digital art component. However, what is the benefit of only having a digital asset when we all live in the real world? As a result, K2K is transforming our digital art into a physical asset.
The collection includes 2,030 NFTs, and is unique in that it transposes digital artwork to a physical garment. The art is showcased on K2K’s 3D rendering of their female-led, minority superhero crew, known as the Havoc Kru. Additionally, there are tangible real-world benefits to be enjoyed through the ownership of the K2K-NFT — unlocking additional value for the token-holder in the physical world.