• Nice's ban has only encouraged more woman to purchase a burkini (Getty)Source: Getty
Despite seeing soaring sales in the wake of Nice's decision to ban the burkini, the woman who created the conservative swimsuit is deeply hurt by the way it has been politicised.
By
Bianca Soldani

25 Aug 2016 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 25 Aug 2016 - 3:28 PM

Despite the furore that’s followed a French community's decision to ban the burkini, the swimsuit has never been so popular. 

The garment’s Australian creator Aheda Zanett, tells SBS that her sales have gone through the roof since Nice joined Cannes and a number of other water-side locations in not allowing women to wear the conservative design.

“Online sales in the last week have probably had a 200 per cent jump, maybe even 300 per cent,” she explains.

While Ms Zanetti’s business has been buoyed by the recent controversy, she says that as a woman and a mother, she’s deeply hurt by the ban.

No one needs to judge us on what faith we are if we choose to be modest while enjoying our leisure time.

"I don’t understand why people think they have the right to [tell women what they can and can't wear]", Ms Zanetti says. She's also disappointed that her design has been politicised and associated with a certain race. 

“You can’t judge a wearer, she could be anyone and she is anyone," she states, “This has always been a swimsuit for everyone, it was designed to integrate among the West. It does not symbolise a Muslim woman, it should not symbolise a Muslim woman because the veil was taken away."

"The veil is usually a symbol of a typical Muslim woman and we took that away and replaced it with a hood to integrate within our Western friends and neighbours. No one needs to judge us on what faith we are if we choose to be modest while enjoying our leisure time."

Factbox: The burkini, the veil, the niqab - what French law says
Burkinis banned on dozens of beaches, no veils in schools, no niqabs in the neighbourhood: in staunchly secular France, the law imposes an array of restrictions on anything denoting religious affiliation.

In fact, Ms Zanetti says that of her recent boost in sales, "the majority of [buyers] aren’t from the Muslim faith, I would imagine about 90 per cent are from non-Muslim faiths.”

"We’re getting enquiries from skin cancer survivors, breast cancer survivors, women who don't want to wear a bikini anymore for whatever reason... we've had Orthodox, we've had Christians, we've had people from the Jewish faith," the designer explains.

In spite of the recent controversy, Ms Zanetti – who was born in Lebanon and emigrated to Australia as a child – has found an “overwhelming” amount of support in Australia and doesn’t believe the country will ever follow in France’s footsteps towards a ban.

We’re getting enquiries from skin cancer survivors, breast cancer survivors, women who don't want to wear a bikini anymore for whatever reason.

“Australia is not racist. Yes, there may be some ignorant people that occasionally bring up their voice and so be it, they’re entitled to do so and I’m happy to hear their voices, but I don’t believe Australians are racist,” she says.

And when it comes to the select group of people who may have an issue with a woman in a burkini Ms Zanetti says, "Don’t judge her".

"If you’re expecting a little bit of respect you need to give it too. She may not even be a Muslim, don’t judge a person by appearance. If you have any fear, ask questions, get some answers."

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Half of burkini buyers aren't Muslim, says its Australian designer
The burkini has recently been banned from the beaches in Nice in line with France's secular values, but many of the women buying burkini's aren't wearing them to adhere to Islamic modesty.