Burkini Designer Says Ban Fuels Soaring Sales — 40% of Buyers Non-Muslim

The Australian designer of the burkini said she has enjoyed increased sales of the body-covering swimwear for Muslim women since three French cities banned it. 

The mayors of Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and the Corsican seaside resort of Sisco imposed the ban last week, arguing the burkini, which leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, defies French laws on secularism. 

“Our sales have increased and the more they actually ban it, or the more they actually reject it, it doesn’t mean a woman will stop wearing it,” Sydney designer Aheda Zanetti told Reuters. 

“I think they’ve misunderstood, I think that when we produced the swimsuit it was part of integration, it was part of combining cultures.” 

The burkini debate is particularly sensitive in France, where the full face niqab and burqa veils were banned in 2010. 

Tensions between communities have heightened following deadly attacks by Islamist militants. 

Last month, a Tunisian killed 85 people when he drove a truck into crowds in Nice and a Roman Catholic priest had his throat cut in church by two French Muslims. In November 130 people were killed by bombings and shootings in Paris. 

Zanetti, who has lived in Australia for more than 40 years since moving from Lebanon, designed the burkini in 2004 after struggling to find sporting garments suitable for Muslim women. 

She said by using a hood to cover the head, rather than a burqa veil, the burkini had become an option for non-Muslim women. 

Zanetti estimated that 40 percent of her sales go to non-Muslim women, with cancer survivors, body conscious mothers or women who want to protect their skin from the sun among the buyers.—Reuters

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Burkini Designer Says Ban Fuels Soaring Sales — 40% of Buyers Non-Muslim

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close