The Chicago Party Animals Loft, venue of A Blessed Wardrobe, was the perfect space to combine art and activism for Mariam Shibly’s fashion show. Blue painted doors welcomed guests to the runway, along with racks of high-end modest clothing decorating the walls. Vendors such as The Hijab Vault, H Cakes, and Noor Cosmetics represented Muslim-American businesses through their unique products.  Attendees from around the Chicagoland area brought their passion for fashion as well as their interest in civic engagement to enjoy the ambiance of the event. A Blessed Wardrobe was a fundraising fashion show; 100% of its funds from the silent auction go to Karam Foundation’s programs supporting Syrians.

The Chicago Monitor interviewed Mariam Shibly, organizer and creative mind behind the event about how it became a reality:

Courtesy of Tamara Hijazi
Courtesy: Tamara Hijazi

Q: What inspired you to organize this event, and more specifically a fashion show?

Mariam: Fashion has always been a passion that I now have the opportunity to pursue. I’ve arranged a fashion show similar to A Blessed Wardrobe for Syria, when I was in college and worked with brands such as Banana Republic, BCBG MaxAzria, Original Penguin, GAP and AKIRA for a smaller charity then. I was eager to bring out the best in our community, so seeing how our local community has been growing with fashionable talent and businesses, I decided to take advantage and bring it all together for a greater cause. 

Q: Why did you choose to support Karam Foundation of all organizations?

Mariam: This is a hard choice. There are many great organizations in Chicagoland and I’ve enjoyed working with them all. I chose Karam Foundation out of all organizations because of the recent crisis in Syria, I liked the fact that I was able to monitor and see humanitarian aid being provided when not many others had access to the locals or White Helmets. Asides from direct access to the refugees, I personally know the founders of this wonderful organization and I’ve seen it grow successfully from the very beginning. I wanted to help as many people as I could and as soon as possible, so I wanted to contribute to Karam’s growth and resources in providing to those in need.


Courtesy: Tamara Hijazi
Courtesy: Tamara Hijazi

Q: Which clothing lines did you include in the show and why did you pick them specifically?

Mariam: I reached out to entrepreneurial and intellectual woman who are just starting their clothing lines or are well known in the community. I chose them because they have a unique fusion of the East and West and cater to our local community’s trending styles. Most of the designers are actually some of my personal favorites from Chicago. 

Q:  How much did you raise from the event and did it meet your goal?

Mariam:  My goal was to hit $3,000 and I’m delighted to share that because the event was a sold out show and such a success, we ended up making the maximum amount of $5,000 all to be 100% donated to charity. So thank you to everyone for contributing to our success! 

Courtesy: Tamara Hijazi

Q: How does your work with fashion relate to civil rights/ humanitarian work?

Mariam: There are too many people around the world left helpless and with nothing from either a natural disaster or even worse, a civil crisis. They are in immediate need of medications, food and shelter. In the past, the proceeds of my two charitable fashion shows have been donated to humanitarian aid and I plan on continuing donating to this specific cause. I’d also like to encourage through these events and endeavors, support for women and empowering one another from everyone especially our local community. It’s important to recognize the talent and work of our women and it all begins with the first step. 


To support further support Karam Foundation’s work, visit their website at:

Follow Mariam Shibly on Instagram @mariamshibly