Benjamin Coyle-Larner, better known these days as Loyle Carner, makes an effort to maintain a down-to-earth and personable attitude when he talks to people about his music. His main influences include his parents and friends; he’s humble and family-oriented, despite the acclaim his unique brand of South London hip-hop has received over the past year. His debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, was nominated for the Mercury Prize and catapulted him to the forefront of the British music scene.

Pals with Model of the Year and fellow South London success story, Adwoa Aboah, Carner runs in the sorts of circles you’d expect to be infused with fresh and creative style. His aesthetic, though, seems to echo his chilled-out manner, his London roots, and his fondness for football. We caught up with him before his talk at the Union to find out how natural his charmingly honest fashion really is. (Spoiler: completely natural).

“I did look a bit like a Fisherman, on reflection”

Who are your top three style inspirations?

Ben responded without missing a beat. “My grandad, my dad, and my girlfriend.”

Listening to Ben’s music, it’s impossible to ignore the central role played by his family and their experiences. Beyond the lyrics, his mum and younger brother often feature in his music videos, and even on the tracks themselves. 

Loyle Carner

Which brands and labels are your favourite right now?

“Carhartt, Carhartt, Carhartt.” Carner chuckled, although the nervous undertone suggested maybe we’d put him on the spot. “No…I don’t know, I don’t wear much, man. Vans, Carhartt, Patagonia…a very important brand.”

You’ve got a pretty laid-back style; your outfit at the Fashion Awards was distinctly casual. Do you consciously try and nurture a relaxed, care-free aesthetic, or is it just your personality shining through?

“Accidentally, like I knew it was a black tie [event], but I went the year before and everyone there was so annoying, I had to go back just to see.” A cheeky grin flashes on his face. Something of a trouble-maker inside the 23 year-old is exposed. “[It was] something that was comfortable but I wasn’t supposed to be announcing an award. If I’d have known I was announcing an award I wouldn’t have gone [in the outfit]. I did look a bit like a Fisherman, on reflection.”

Your family, particularly your mum, obviously have a huge impact on the music you create. Do they influence your style in the same way?

“Yeah, massively so. Just because my mum would always, well, not tell me what to wear – when I was younger she’d tell me what to wear.” Ben isn’t helping the momma’s-boy character he’s developed for himself. “Yeah, mum always wanted me to look smart; my grandad, my nan always wanted me to look smart. If I was going out and had any trousers on it was always, ‘don’t have them too baggy’”. 

Lastly, what item of clothing do you treasure most?

“My dad had a Cantona shirt, like a football shirt, that he got outside a Man United game, so that would be the thing I would never want to lose. It’s been signed by Eric Cantona now as well, so it’s very important.”


Mountain View

Celebrating Rihanna’s eternal style

Loyle Carner makes no effort to hide his affection for his family or his unpretentious approach when it comes to fashion. It’s almost impossible to not be touched by the sincerity with which he speaks about his career and those who helped him get there. I don’t think we’re going to see him ditching the football shirts anytime soon 

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