King Brothers Clothiers, owned by twins Danny and Kenny King, specializes in dressing the hard-to-fit.
Among the athletes who’ve found their way to the northeast Minneapolis warehouse space of Twitter’s @king_bros. have been Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves — their client with the longest inseam, at 41 inches — and muscular Charlie Coyle of the Wild.
“We end up working with the hard-to-fit, but we [also] work with a lot of guys getting their first big-boy suit,” said Danny. “We end up working with a lot of athletes because they can’t get it anywhere else. ”
Before becoming clothiers, Kenny was an outstate Minnesota TV news anchor and Danny was a youth pastor.
While working with now-retired WCCO-TV anchor Don Shelby on the cravat called “The Shelby Knot,” the King brothers made the acquaintance of Kingford Bavender of Chaska’s Bavender Custom Clothes.
The Kings call Bavender their mentor. But Bavender took credit for nothing when I tried to line him up for this video.
“I suggested they meet my friend Kingford Bavender. He’s been their most important ally and mentor in all of this, not me,” said Shelby. “He’s modest. He would have downplayed his part in it, but it was enormous. He had everything to do with [getting the Kings started in the business]. It would have never happened without him.”
Last week on Instagram, tinyurl.com/hcfadwq, where they are @kingbrosclothiers, the King twins posted a photo with the NHL’s Coyle. I found it extremely amusing given the comfy shoes part of this interview.
The Kings played along very nicely for my video. They participated in a sewing competition. They — Danny more than Kenny — demonstrated their best runway model struts. And they answered some questions on an erasable board, a better idea before I had them do it. The sewing sight gag turned out to be a perfect metaphor, because these twins really needle each other, although there is one loving moment where the older twin tries to help his little brother, who’s not receptive.
Q: Who has better style, your mom or your dad?
A: [Both said mom.]
Q: Twins often have other names for each other. What do you wish your names had been?
K: Kenny and Stupid.
D: Jake and Jack.
Q: I think I know the answer to this question based on the answer to the previous question. Which one of you is the mean twin? My college journalism professor said I was always more interesting than other students because I had an edge.
K: When we have bad news to share with people, I’m always the one who gets to deliver it.
D: Edge is a very nice way to put it.
Q: Boxers, briefs or something else?
K: Boxer briefs.
D: Boxer briefs. True twins.
K: We don’t share underwear.
Q: The most embarrassing headline you can recall with the words “King Brothers” in it that’s not a story about you two. That question came to me when I saw a headline reading “King Brothers murders” while preparing for this interview.
K: We don’t get embarrassed easily.
D: No. Any press is good press.
Q: What celebrity who is not a client of yours, not dressed by you, dresses the most like you guys?
K: I always like the way that JGL, Joseph Gordon Levitt, [looks]. He’s styled right.
D: I like as well the new and improved Chris Pratt.
Q: Have you ever been surprised while measuring some guy to discover that he doesn’t wear underwear?
D: There [have] been a few people I have sort of assumed haven’t been wearing underwear when I’ve measured them based on bulges, and nooks and crannies. But we don’t have them strip down to their underwear, so I guess it was never made official.
K: Hypotheses. [He smiled.]
Q: Do you recall by photograph or memory the most unflattering matching outfits you were dressed in as kids?
K: I’m pretty sure we had matching overalls.
D: They were tough to find because believe it or not, when we were growing up we would always have to wear the slim fit. Little-boy slim size was hard to find in an overall. I do believe there were Zubaz suits.
K: Those are cool now.
Q: Who are your favorite twins on TV at this moment?
D: They used to be Mary Kate and Ashley.
K: Oh yeah.
D: Favorite twins on TV now.
K: I know the [HGTV’s] Property Brothers but I don’t like them. I think they try too hard. I don’t think they are that interesting and they know it and they try too hard.
D: I was going to say that about you. [Pointing his thumb at his brother.]
Q: Who is better at strutting around like a runway model?
K: I think me.
D: Yeah, probably so. There’s kind of that confidence. It’s not that I don’t have it; I just don’t let the world know.
K: My light shines just a little bit brighter.
D: 60 watts vs. 40.
Q: Who was first to do the model’s tie-in-the-wind move? My wusbeen [CBS’ Faith Salie’s term for ex-husband] always did this when he was modeling suits for me.
D: [Laugh] We do a lot of the jacket buttoning in the wind when we are taking pictures of each other for our Instagram page. All right, bring it way far out and whip it! It’s hard to capture at exactly the right moment.
Q: Who was the first supermodel to catch your eye?
K: Tyra Banks. I remember she was on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and I couldn’t turn away. [Laughter]
D: Interesting. I remember looking at some magazine and seeing Mark Wahlberg [in] his Calvin Klein campaign. I mean, I’ve got a wife, kids, but I remember being like, “I want that body. I want it for myself. I don’t want him.” That’s kind of embarrassing.
Q: Will most athletes let you dress them any way you like because they trust your style?
K: A lot of them do. A lot of them ask a lot of questions or we just recommend things. Karl-Anthony Towns had a lot of his own ideas and we took those, ran with them, and made them our own together. We worked, I would say, as a team with him. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Q: Where is your favorite place to shop?
K: I don’t do a lot of shopping anymore, to be honest. I used to like Macy’s [especially when the quality was better back in the Dayton’s days]. I used to wander around.
D: We do like walking into stores when we’re in New York, the little boutiques in SoHo or the Flatiron district. Those are always fun even, though we are not necessarily looking for things. The shopping is a little bit different.
Q: What is the secret to making a super-tall athlete who likes custom suits with flair not look like a clown?
D: That’s a really good question. I think one thing we do a really good job of is balancing things that are interesting with things that are more standard and versatile; adding different twist and accents so that instead of, Oh my goodness, that suit is crazy because it’s purple [and] he’s wearing the pink pants. It’s a little bit more tasteful. Here I am wearing a plaid suit.
K: The circus is in town.
D: We do a good job balancing those things, plus when everything fits perfectly, there’s just no arguing with it.
K: And confidence is key. You can do most things except get away with murder.
Q: Did you like most things that you’ve seen worn by losing Super Bowl QB Cam Newton?
K: Yes. I actually texted Karl a picture off TV. I think it was camo.
D: Maybe. Camo jacket? Yellow pants. Generally I feel like he’s a sharp guy.
Q: They say twins think alike. Is that true when it comes to design?
D: There are things I’ve seen that he hasn’t. So much of what we love stylistically has been our adaptation of something we’ve seen or experienced. Those type of things tend to be our own. As we are sitting down and doing some of the design pieces, we do think very much in line with each other.
K: And we build off each other’s ideas.
Q: Who goes from naked to showered and out the door faster?
K: I don’t know what my deal is.
D: We don’t live together, so I don’t know on a daily basis how quick you are, but traveling or something, I’ve actually picked up a part-time job in the time I’ve spent waiting for him.
Q: What is a trend you would like to banish?
K: I would say ill-fitting suits.
D: Right. I think one thing that drives me nuts is when men wear pajama pants as actual pants. K: [Nodding.]
D: It’s not like you can’t ever wear sweats. Usually if shoes are really comfortable they’re not very stylish.
D: Crocs, for example. Tennis shoes, fine if you are going from the gym. Out in the skyway, guys who are [walking around] in their comfy shoes; that probably is not a good look.
Q: What about people with foot problems? When I would see old guys in sneakers, like David Letterman, I didn’t understand until I started having foot problems.
D: So if you can help it, I guess, get rid of the comfy shoes.
Q: Who are the best-dressed men in the Twin Cities?
K: Other than the King Brothers?
Q: … other than the King Brothers and their clients?
K: Our mentor Kingford Bavender.
D: Yeah, he’s really sharp.
K: I don’t really watch the news.
D: As far as news anchors, I don’t watch too much news.
Q: A former news anchor doesn’t watch the news?
K: I don’t. It’s like once you know how the sausage is made …
D: Or the hot dogs.
K: … you’re not all that interested.
D: Guys who are in this business, who work in the men’s stores, are put together very nicely.
Q: Do you know restaurant spaces designer Jim Smart?
K: Who’s he?
D: Yeah, I think I do know who he is.
Q: … attorney Cornell Moore or businessman Tom Wicka?
D: Walk the skyway and you probably see a lot [of well-dressed men].
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her watch Fox 9’s “Jason Show.”