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International Style Queens of African Heritage: Shingai Shoniwa

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This week, we conclude our mini-series on women of African Heritage who have been killing it on the international red carpet. So far we’ve featured Tolula Adeyemi, Iman Bowie and Thandie Newton.

For our final feature, we chose Shingai Shoniwa. A lady whose style is as unique as her sound and as thrilling as her performances.

Shingai Elizabeth Maria Shoniwa is an English singer of Zimbabwean descent and is best known as the lead singer and bassist for the UK indie rock band Noisettes. Shoniwa grew up in an extended close-knit matriarchal family consisting of her non-identical twin sister. She was raised by her mother, a social worker, as her father died when she was 11.

Shoniwa grew up in a musical environment as her Zimbabwean roots and their Shona culture ensured that music was part of everyday life. She initially wanted to be an actress and studied drama at the Brit School in Croydon, South London. It was there that she met the guitarist Dan Smith and they formed the band Noisettes soon afterwards. The band first achieved commercial success and nationwide recognition with the second single of their second album, “Don’t Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go)” which reached number two on the UK Singles Chart in spring 2009.

Shoniwa is known for her energetic barefoot performances on stage. She has been described as “the most natural, charismatic frontwoman in British music today, an acrobatic showgirl-cum-disco diva’’ by Times Online.

While she receives rave reviews for her musical talent, her personal style has also gotten some much-deserved attention. Shoniwa is very comfortable being daring with her style choices. Her style is quirky, colourful and fun with futuristic inclinations and ethic infusions displayed by her choices of charismatic jewelry. Her flamboyant style emerges from her mum’s influence which she mentions in an interview with the Mirror: “I dress very similar to how my mum did in the 80s, Afro-centric with an edge of couture’’.

Shoniwa is emerging as a fashion icon of our time. Not only is her fashion interesting to follow, but also, her au naturel hair which is a big part of her look as she styles it to make a bold statement. With numerous debates on black women’s hair, documentaries like Good Hair attempting to provide answers and in the face of the reality that most black women celebrated by the media are accessorized by the phenomenon of the lace front, it is refreshing to see a black woman who carries her “kinky’’ hair with such grace and fabulousity.

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Shingai Shoniwa in David Koma

Garbed in David Koma, Shingai Shoniwa looks every bit fashion forward in a daring plunging neckline paired with a Grecian-inspired necklace.


Displaying her retro street style

There’s no off day with this lady. The streets of London just became this lady’s catwalk! Looking the colours and quirky elements infuse this ensemble.

he premiere of 'From Time To Time' during the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival at the Vue West End on October 18, 2009 in London, England.

At the premiere of 'From Time To Time' during the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival

Shingai has a thing for jackets. Here she’s pictures in  a velvet jacket with the dramatic puff sleeves  which she pairs with a patterned dress. She leaves out colour, but keeps things interesting with the print.


Shangai Shoniwa in 'Afro Glory'

Her hair is definitely a major part of her style! I love how she wears it; like with the fashion choices her hair styles are  fun!

At T4 on the Beach Event

At T4 on the Beach Event

Shingai brightens up in the red carpet in this metallic mini dress and pink bolero which she accessories with print bangles, fishnet leggings and neon coloured nails. This is a good look for her!

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Front row at London Fashion Week

She adds a pop of colour to this all black textured look. From her hair, to the accessories and detailed bottoms of this jumpsuit, like always her looks keep us glued!


At PPQ party in a ayellw playsuit

In  minimal accessories and make-up; Shingai decides to keep things simple and fresh yet very stylish!


At Anglomania by Vivienne Westwood in David Koma

I love tihs ethnic look; the zebra print shoes, the heavily embellished tribal top. She looks very Afro-chic!


At the National Lottery Awards 2009

Her hair is an absolute vision! She looks extremely adorable. If there’s one thing I like about her style, it is the way she infuses contrasting themes. She’s the only one who can pair a dress like this with such a playful hairstyle and pull it off!


At the Wireless Music Festival 2009

Her style comes so easy to her, you never get the feeling she’s trying to hard. She shows her love for colour, futurist styles and statement jewelry with this look.

At the world premiere of St Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold

At the world premiere of St Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold

This is a gorgeous colour on her! I love the cut of the dress, very flattering to her petite frame and the short length that shows off her long legs!


At the Wonder, Passion, Freedom: 28 Years Of Guess party

She goes vintage with this look; front the velvet jacket with gold embroidery trims, to the metallic peplum top with fold panel details on the bodice. bright neon nails and her statement Afro complete this look!

at nine premiere david koma

At Nine premiere in David Koma

David Koma designs embody Shingai’s kooky style. She pairs this futurist dress by David Koma with a bright orange bold-shouldered bolero. Loving the multicoloured clutch!!!!

Shingai Shoniwa attends the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball- Day 1 at 02 Arena on December 5, 2009 in London, England.

At Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball 2009

She is very daring with her choices; breaking fashion rules and committing faux pas in exposed bras and hot pants! Who cares, when she gets off looking this fabulous!!!

At Teenage Cancer Trust 2009

At Teenage Cancer Trust 2009

She shows her preference for metallics while exuding confidence in this gold embellished dress.


At the Brit Fashion Awards

Shingai is fashionably dressed in bright separates complimented by her signature fro, neon bright nails and lovely statement jewelry. If only I could raid her closet!

Credits: Times Online,, Life, WireImage, Wikipedia, Feels Good 2 B Home

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