A controversial French ban on wearing the Burkini has boosted sales of the swimsuit – particularly among non-Muslim women, says the Australian designer credited with creating the full-body swimwear.
New Delhi: In the last eight years Aheda Zanetti the Sydney based inventor of Burkini has sold over 700,000 swimsuits.
Interestingly and ironically 45% buyers of her Burkini label Ahiida are non-Muslim women.
“This is about choice. The Burkini stands for freedom, flexibility and confidence, it does not stand for misery, torture and terror” said Zanetti in interview with Sydney Morning Herald.
Following the highly controversial Burkini ban in France which has been stayed by the highest court for the while Aheda Zanetti said that she received messages from her customers of various ideological leanings slamming the ban in one voice. A non-Muslim customer messaged from Warwick, Queensland saying that “It is just a swimsuit for heaven’s sake.” Another woman from US said that she is a skin cancer survivor who cannot go out in the sun in a regular swimsuit.
Zanetti says that people often mail her to know if the Islamic community would be offended if they (non-Muslims) don a burkini swimsuit.
The news of Burkini ban in France has had an unanticipated effect. In the aftermath of ban Zanetti experienced such a surge in the demand for Burkini that her brand Ahiida has been compelled to change courier companies to enable faster delivery to Europe.
“Every time anyone says something bad about the burkini, I get enquires and sales out of It.” says Zanetti.
She believes that Burkini has allowed many women to venture into sports and beach experiences which they would have avoided in absence of burkini due to of health, body or religious concerns.
Speaking of Muslim-burkini relationship she said that garment is a symbol of empowerment and female choice. She added that Muslim women are more powerful than people think they are. “We choose to be modest’ said Zanetti.
Initially older Muslim women were hesitant in accepting the Burkini.
In 2007, Ahiida was asked to design Burkinis for the surf lifesavers, which Zanetti refers to as strongly symbolic of inclusion and integration.
The popularity of Burkini among non-Muslim women indicates that women like modest dress by nature, no wonder Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe and majority of new converts are women especially.