Unexpectedly classic, yet uncommon and extraordinary; clothing designed by Bilqis Shareef is always fashionable as she strikes the fashion scene with dynamic and exciting style while maintaining the modesty that Allah requests.
As a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), her work can be seen in many television programs and films including Army Wives, Conspirator, Homeland, three seasons of Banshee and most notably her designs can be seen in the District 12 home of Katniss during The Hunger Games. She has also done many commercials for Verizon Wireless and Belk department stores including designs filmed at the Biltmore Estate.
Long before her designs appeared on the silver screen, Bilqis was a young girl whose mother’s hand-sewn designs set her apart from the rest of her class. As she grew older, Bilqis urged her mother to teach her how to sew and to guide her in maintaining the unique understanding of shape and form in clothing. After learning her craft at home during the teenage years, Bilqis honed her craft by studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and further refined it by preparing custom bridal wear for the most discriminating clients. In her own words, Bilqis expresses her motivation “My concept of fashion is to enhance the imagination of how people should view women, not merely as sexual objects or displayed mannequin, but to create a textured, designed motion for today’s progressive women.”
The inspiration for her design creation comes from the form and elegance of Allah’s creation. It is an experience of the blush of sunlight, the unrestrained flow of water, the murmur of wind as it shakes the trees. Original designs come as she chooses fabrics by studying the natural shape, touching and listening to the messages that they will reveal to her. The wearer does not simply don her garments; she and the garment join in the melody of their own unique whisper, chant or song.
With a career now spanning 45 years, designs by Bilqis Shareef have been featured in many fashion extravaganzas throughout the United States such as the Al-Nisah Fashion Show in 2006 and she was hand- selected by Imam W. Deen Mohammed to coordinate the 2007 Graceline Fashion show at the annual Mosque Cares convention, receiving rave reviews. Her own Talking Threads Boutique, located on Lasalle St. in Charlotte, NC, is a highly sought after contributor for any display of the latest fashion creations.
Bilqis and her husband of twenty-three years, Amin Shareef, are strong supporters of the local Muslim community in Charlotte, NC. She has served seventeen years as the Assistant Treasurer for Masjid Ash Shaheed and one and a half years as Treasurer.
Whether designing for dancers, actors, celebrities or crafting everyday wearable art for the general public; Bilqis Shareef delivers with a trademark smile and delightful laughter as she marvels at her creations coming to life.