The days of the Bikini in Australia are over – welcome to the world of the burqini, the latest in women’s beachwear. This style of suit was created for women of the Muslim faith who craved appropriate swimwear based on their acceptable style of dress. It has allowed Muslim women the ability to enjoy the rich, warm waters of our oceans without having to reveal more than allowed or accepted.

The suit is designed to be loose-fitting and has been approved by the Australian Islamic Council and has quickly gained international attention with Muslim women. The suit has been a change to their lifestyle; one many feels is for the better.

The suit combined high-tech materials and a Victorian style. It is both comfortable and attractive and is being adopted by some women who want additional coverage and protection from the sun but are not of the muslim faith. It aids in the protection against the suns harmful rays and displays less of those areas many women are uncomfortable showing, such as their thighs.

Designed by Aheda Zanetti, a muslim women who has resided in Australia since two years of age, it was one that has been in the works for years. Commenting on its design and where the idea arose from, Zanetti said,

“I think a woman, no matter how confident she is, has times in her life when she doesn’t want to wear a bikini. This says to women there are choices and it’s OK to make them.”

The Beginning of an Idea

The idea was formed after Zanetti painfully watched a niece playing basketball wearing a headscarf, baggy track pants and sweatshirt that clearly made her uncomfortable, let alone cause excessive sweating.

Zanetti, wanting to help her niece scoured the internet trying to find something that would allow her niece to be comfortable while adhering to the practices of being a muslim woman. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, Zanetti realised there was little in this style of clothing as an option for women of her faith, let alone one that would be seen with approval within her culture.

Zanetti spoke on this stating,

“There’s not much modern in Islam. Not much has changed in 1,500 years. So it was with some trepidation that she showed her design four years ago to Australia’s top Muslim cleric and put her prototype on display at a Sydney Islamic fair, she remembered.

After reviewing Zanetti’s design, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali announced that it was appropriate and word of mouth quickly alerted muslim women to its existence and orders for the burqini began to flow. As the burqini has gained popularity, Zanetti moved operations into a retail outlet that contains multiple burqinis to choose from as well as appropriate changing rooms. It is located in a suburb of Sydney that has a predominant Lebanese-dominated Muslim community.

In addition to her retail outlet, sales are derived from the internet and cost an average $200 per burqini. While successful, less than 7000 suits have been sold due to Zanetti refusing to license the burqini to those who wish to wholesale the suit until all patents were approved and registered. With these in place, production of the burqini is expected to increase dramatically.