Aheda Zanetti, the creator of the full body swimsuit known as the ‘burqini’, says a burqini ban in France has boosted sales up to 200 percent, especially to non-Muslim women.
The 48-year-old designer based in Sydney, Australia, said demands for the burqini on her website came from women of different religions and cultural groups including Jews, Hindus, Christians, Mormons.
Zanetti said some other women who prefer to cover their bodies on the beach such as skin cancer patients also supported her burqini design as they flooded her with emails of support.
“The support I’m getting is somehow about empowering women... I feel like I’ve been a counsellor.”
“Women are standing together on this. It doesn’t matter what race or religion.”
According to Zanetti’s online shop records, the orders placed for burqinis on Sunday reached 60 while it would typically be around ten or twelve.
The burqini ban sparked controversary in France after several town authorities claimed that it was threatening France’s secularism and could disrupt public order in the country.
Critics said the ban was “alienating” and “intolerant” after Thierry Migoule, head of mucipal services in Cannes, one of the the French cities which banned burqini, said the swimsuit represented an allegiance to “terrorist movements” and defying secular laws.
Gerardo Pisarello, Deputy Mayor of Spain’s Barcelona City Hall, which has ruled out a ban, said last week that women should be able to dress and swim as they like.
“We must respect the voice of women and not treat them as if they were children,” he said.
Canadian Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee also stated that “a woman has the right to dress as she wishes” in Canada, adding that the country wanted to "leave the debate to the other side of the ocean.”
Zanetti said the garment was intented to allow women who prefer modest clothing to adapt beach lifestyle and offer them freedom of choice in what to wear.