What is Burkini ? The modest swimwear everyone wants to know about


Burkini / Burqini is a two piece swimwear  along with head covering worn by Muslim women for swimming. The term is a combination of Burqa Bikini.Total body coverage given by this dress makes this a favourite of women of Islamic faith who wants to maintain their modesty and at the same time be active in sports. This modest muslim  swimwear was designed by Aheda Zanetti in 2004.

Traditionally muslim women wear a loose dress which coveres them from head to toe; it is usually voluminous and in addition to this a head covering is also worn . Burqini which is made of swimsuit material looks like a wetsuit with a headcovering and covers the body from head to toe ; but at the same time it is less voluminous than the traditional clothes of arabian women .


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The company owned by Zanetti ‘Ahiida’ owns the trademarks to the terms Burkini and Burqini. But nowadays these terms have come to represent modest islamic sportswear/ swimwear all around the world. Burquini became internationally famous after the french government banned Burkini clad women from the beach . A highly debated controversy followed this ban. The ban was a result of a feeling that the burkini somehow represented the oppression of the Islamic faith.

How burkini came into being

Burkini was born as a result of the designer’s frustration in finding a suitably modest sportswear for her niece who wanted to play netball in Australia.She first invernted Hijood ,a stretchy head covering which lies close to the neck and head. This gave a lot of freedom of movement in sports and other activities. The designer then went on to design the Burkini , a two piece swim wear, which was a lifeline for muslim women who refused to wear the usual revealing swimwear available in the market, designed for the more liberal western culture.

Her design has given  a lot of women of muslim faith freedom to go about and participate in sports and activities without sacrificing their modesty or faith. For some women the very modest clothing may be a religious  obligation.  they have no choice but to accept;  but many women of Islamic faith wear modest clothing on their own freewill and happiness and for them this dress has become a symbol of freedom

Other than Muslims, people from other walks of life like women with body issues who wants to wear less revealing clothes but enjoy swimming and those of other religion and geographical locations who dress modestly have found the Burkini a blessing.

Further reading :

Article in theguardian.com which has an interview by the creator of Burqini 

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