Aussie designer says burkini was designed ‘to give women freedom’

Not take it away

The Aussie designer who invented the burkini says it was designed ‘to give women freedom, not take it away.’

Aheda Zanetti discovered a gap in the market, so in 2014 she created sportswear for Muslim girls that have become the centre of controversy in France this week.


‘It was about integration and acceptance and being equal and about not being judged, she wrote in an article for The Guardian.

She added: ‘When I named it the burkini I didn’t really think it was a burqa for the beach. Burqa was just a word for me – I’d been brought up in Australia all my life, and I’d designed this swimsuit and I had to call it something quickly. It was the combination of two cultures – we’re Australians but we are also Muslim by choice.’

Controversial photos showing French police enforcing a ban on burkinis have gone viral this week.

‘[The city of] Nice implanted the ban in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in the country, banning clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks,’ reports The Guardian


The images show a woman on the beach being asked to comply with the ban.

In response to the images, Zanetti says the garment has been ‘misunderstood’.

‘I think they have misunderstood a garment that is so positive – it symbolises leisure and happiness and fun and fitness and health and now they are demanding women get off the beach and back into their kitchens?’ she said.

‘This has given women freedom, and they want to take that freedom away? So who is better, the Taliban or French politicians? They are as bad as each other.’

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