Sydney.– It’s not itsy-bitsy or teenie- weenie but the Burqini may prove to be just as popular as its polka-dotted predecessor.
The modest bathing costume is designed for water-going Muslim women who, because of religious values, cannot show more than their face, hands and feet in public.
A cross between a burqa and a bikini, the polyester suit is made up of pants and a long- sleeved thigh or knee-length A-line top with head covering. It is water-repellent, UV-resistant and comes with Arab designs.
Its Australian designer, Aheda Zanetti, has been swamped with thousands of inquiries about the product from Europe, Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East. Zanetti said she started producing the Burqini as Muslim women were missing out on sports because of their dress code.
“Not only does it look good, not only is it practical to use, it feels good to use – it’s extremely comfortable,” she said. Before the Burqini, Muslim women either avoided swimming or tried to swim in full clothes.
“Every day people are walking into my (Sydney) shop and saying, `Finally, I don’t have to watch my husband and kids playing any more; I don’t have to stand on the sideline’,” Zanetti said.
Retail stores have not yet been set up but the Burqini is available online for $NZ192 to $214, plus shipping. Christchurch Muslim Naaz Shah said the Burqini was a great idea, especially for young Muslim women at school.
“Some of the schools have swimming programmes – it’s like compulsory – so for those type of things, the Muslim girls must really have a tough time.”