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You had to go fabric hunting and then someone in your family would attempt to make it for you. Either spot on or, “Mum, please don’t send me to school in this.”’Shingai was born in 1980 in Brockley, Southeast London, ‘deep in Del Boy country’.Her parents had both emigrated from Zimbabwe a few years previously; her father an academic and her mother from a family steeped in music. My mum used to put on concerts at a club called the Africa Centre in the 1990s.She points out that Lady Gaga wasn’t the first woman to use fashion as art.‘Sometimes it’s a little frustrating – if someone nowadays does something that’s slightly innovative or wears something that you can’t find on the high street, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily thanks to Lady Gaga. You’ve got Josephine Baker, you’ve got Marlene Dietrich.So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections.Noisettes singer Shingai Shoniwa’s outlandish stage outfits and standout looks make even Lady Gaga look drab in comparison.
, a smash-hit second Wild Young Hearts (bolstered by that ubiquitous floor-filler ‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm’) took Shingai from wannabe stage star to style icon. Paul Weller and his rock royalty buddies appear to have left, meanwhile. Give it a year or two and it’ll be them clambering to get near to Shingai Shoniwa, not the other way round.
‘I’ve always been exposed to lots of different kinds of styles.
My grandmother was the only woman with a sewing machine in her tiny village in Malawi.
‘It was a thing from the Manish Arora collection, a giant sequined yellow car that I had on my head. It’s hard to think of outlandish headgear without thinking of a certain gaga lady.
But the mention of it elicits a small sigh – Shingai has heard this one before.