Burkini sales have skyrocketed after French ban, says original designer

Increase in interest from both Muslims and non-Muslims

Tuesday 23 August 2016 14:11
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Australian-Lebanese designer Aheda Zanetti explains her products of burkini swimsuits at a shop in western Sydney
Australian-Lebanese designer Aheda Zanetti explains her products of burkini swimsuits at a shop in western Sydney

Bans on burkinis in France have boosted sales of the garment, according to the woman credited with creating the design.

Australian-Lebanese Aheda Zanetti first created the swimwear for Muslim women over a decade ago and claims interest in the Burkini has shot up, especially among non-Muslim women, since it was banned by 15 towns in France.

Ms Zanetti said the uproar had increased publicity massively and that women were looking to show solidarity, regardless of race or religion.

“I can tell you that online on Sunday, we received 60 orders – all of them non-Muslim,” the 48-year-old told AFP. She usually expects between 10 and 12 orders on a Sunday.

"A lot of the correspondence... was that they are survivors of skin cancer and they've always been looking for something like this, saying, 'Thank god we've found someone like this producing such a swimsuit.

"The support I'm getting is somehow about empowering women.”

Under the new rules those who defy the ban face fines. A wealthy businessman of Algerian descent has offered to pay for people charged under the new law and has already covered the cost of three women who chose to defy it.

Rachid Nekkaz, a real-estate entrepreneur, says he personally opposes the burkini but believes that within a democracy nobody has the right to prevent someone from wearing the clothing they choose.

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