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Cktrl dresses for the weather and for freedom

Producer of down-tempo r’n’b-tinged beats and NTS presenter cktrl chats style

  • Interview: Sean Griffiths | Photography: Sherelle thomas
  • 2 May 2019

The jacket’s Prada. It’s super lightweight, but it’s a windbreaker so holds up against the elements. I’ve got a cousin who works at Net-A-Porter and she let me use her discount to get it.

I’m wearing all black today. I dress to the weather, so in London I end up wearing a lot of black. If I was in Miami I’d be wearing orange and green and red!

I used to work in the Mayor’s office in London, so obviously had to have a sensible haircut. Especially for black people, you feel like you have to police yourself a little in a corporate space and not fall into being any of the stereotypes people expect of you. So when I quit to do music full time, dyeing my hair green and then red was about freedom.

When I worked in the Mayor’s office I saved half my wages every month; half of that went to my mum and what was left I could buy something nice with. I remember going to Church’s and getting some black work shoes that were £350–£400. They’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. It was like wearing trainers at work.

I’m into Prada a lot at the moment. Their recent collections have been great. The bag’s Prada too. It’s a utility bag and is great for travelling, as you can get your passport and all your essentials in it. Also, when you’re at a party you don’t have a bag you feel you need to put down somewhere.

I read a thing with 21 Savage recently where he spoke about not wearing jewellery, which is rare in rap. I’ve never worn jewellery either, but then thought maybe I’ll get one thing, and the grill (below) came from that.

The trainers are Air Max 97s. I’d always liked them but never had a pair before I popped into Offspring and they were on sale.

The first thing I really remember wanting as a kid was trainers. Everyone was into the TNs and Air Max. Up to a size 6 they were £60, so it was fine when you were a kid. But once your foot got bigger and they were £120, it was tough getting your mum to splash that kind of cash on trainers for you!

A lot of the clothes I wore back in the day were inspired by grime. People like Skepta were around back then, but in Lewisham they weren’t important and it was about the local MCs. How they dressed informed what we wore.

My T-shirt was made by a friend and has Solange on the back. When she did her ‘A Seat At The Table’ album, I thought that was a really important body of work. I got this for when I went to see her at Lovebox.

I don’t have any tattoos. It was my 18th birthday and I walked into the tattoo parlour to get one and one of the olders from the ends was in there. He was a tough guy but he was screaming and so I was like, ‘If he’s moving like that, I can’t get one!’

‘Colour’ by cktrl is out now

Sean Griffiths is Mixmag's Deputy Editor. Follow him on Twitter

Sherelle Thomas is Mixmag's Digital Producer. Follow her on Twitter

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