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Ninja Tune artist Nabihah Iqbal delves into the secrets of her wardrobe

The artist formerly known as Throwing Shade is next up in Steeze

  • Sean Griffiths | Photos: Sherelle Thomas
  • 5 January 2018

I always wear berets. It’s part of my look now. My best friend in school and I started wearing them around 18 and it stuck. I bought this wool beret in Paris, which is quite a cliché! I’ve got about four; the rest are from military surplus stores. Wearing a hat always improves your outfit.

My silk scarf was an indulgent purchase on a recent trip to China. It’s pure silk and embroidered by hand. It must have taken ages. I was with my mum who lived in China in the 70s and 80s; we went to a store in Beijing called The Friendship Store which was once the only place foreigners could shop at the time because of the Cultural Revolution.

I’ve always liked fashion. My mum jokes about how strong-minded I was about clothes even in nursery. I’d kick off if a dress I wanted to wear wasn’t washed!

Everyone remembers the trainers they wore loads as a kid. I had a pair of Umbros in a similar style to Adidas Gazelles; I wore them loads around the age of seven or eight. I was obsessed with Blur and Oasis so tried to dress in that Britpop style.

I got this jacket on my trip to Japan, too. It’s a vintage souvenir jacket with eagles, dragons and a snake on the back; the work’s very intricate. These were originally in fashion in Japan in the late 50s and 60s, and apparently they’re back in fashion in Japan now. The original ones go for around £2,000.

I try to be as ethical as possible in the clothes I buy, and avoid brands if I’ve heard bad things about their labour practices. That’s why I like Levi’s. When I worked in Cape Town we did outreach work with women who worked in the Levi’s factory where we’d talk about problems they had outside the workplace. It was an initiative organised by Levis.

My jeans are Levis 701s from their vintage range. I went to the shop in London but they said the only place I’d get them in my size is in Asia, so I bought them when I was DJing in Japan recently. They’re a 50s style and I’ve wanted them for ages! They’re raw denim and people say you shouldn’t wash them for six months but I’m not sure how long I’ll last!

I’ve got one wardrobe and my rule is everything has to fit in it. It means I’ve got rid of a lot of stuff. I’m definitely all about buying less but buying quality.

I love to buy jewellery when I’m abroad. I don’t like imitation; I prefer to save up and buy real gold, silver or pearls. My earrings are from Dubai duty-free – it’s so much cheaper than buying gold in the UK! My necklace is the Egyptian goddess Isis. I’m obsessed with ancient Egypt. It seems there was more of an equilibrium between men and women in some ancient religions, while modern religions tend to be very patriarchal. Female power was revered more in the past.

I worked as a human rights lawyer in Cape Town and had to dress more formally. It’s quite nice to be wearing a sharp suit, and I had good shoes and a Vivienne Westwood bag, but I was never really that comfortable. I don’t think suits are comfortable really, and even more so for women.

Nabihah Iqbal's debut album 'Weighing Of The Heart' is out now on Ninja Tune

This feature is taken from the January issue of Mixmag

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