The burkini has taken a wave in India

France may have banned burkinis in their country, but we cannot say the same would be happening in India. In recent years, the burkini has become a symbol of empowerment for women across the world. A burkini is a type of swimwear that covers the entire body, including the head and hair and is majorly worn by Muslim women who choose to dress modestly while swimming.

It is also to note that although the burkini swimwear are majorly worn by Muslim women, many women outside of the community who choose to dress modestly also adhere to burkinis. This makes the burkini dress an attire which caters to the comfort of a large population of females. Aheda Zanetti who coined the term “burkini” claims that more than 40% of burkinis are sold to non-Muslim women, suggesting that there’s a big market for modest swimwear that cuts across religious lines.
The rise of the burkini in India can be attributed to several factors. One of the main reasons is the growing awareness and acceptance of the concept of modest dressing among Muslim women. Many women in India are choosing to dress modestly as a personal choice, rather than due to external pressure or societal norms. The burkini, which allows women to swim while covering their bodies, has become a popular choice for women who wish to maintain their modesty while engaging in physical activity. A trip to water parks and beaches in India confirms that women’s first priority when being in the water is to cover up properly whether it is with burkinis or just everyday shalwar kameez.

Another reason for the popularity of the burkini in India is the increasing availability and affordability of the swimsuit. A few years ago, burkinis were not easily available in India, and those that were available were often expensive. However, in recent years, several local and international brands have started offering burkini swimwear in India at affordable prices, making them more accessible to a larger number of women. Sports goods retail chain Decathlon recorded an almost 70% spike in sales of women’s swimwear after it introduced leg suits, tights and full-sleeved leg suits in March. “Now women’s swimwear sells more than men’s at our stores,”

The rise of social media has also played a significant role in popularizing the burkini in India. Many Muslim women who wear burkinis have taken to social media to share their experiences and showcase their swimwear. These women have become role models for others who wish to wear the burkini but may feel hesitant or insecure. Social media has also allowed women to connect with each other and form a community, which has provided support and encouragement to those who choose to wear modest burkinis.
Another fact that makes burkinis stand out from regular swimwear is that they are not only chlorine and UV resistant but as secure and comfortable as the suits worn by scuba divers.
While the burkini has gained popularity among women in India, it has also faced criticism and opposition from some quarters. Some argue that the burkini is a symbol of oppression and a tool for enforcing patriarchal norms. The French president called burkinis “Islamic propaganda” while reasoning his call to ban burkinis in his country.
The truth is that the burkini is a choice made by women in general who wish to maintain their modesty while engaging in physical activities. The burkini is not a symbol of oppression or a tool for enforcing patriarchal norms, but rather a means for women to exercise their agency and express their religious beliefs or just a choice of personal comfort.
Despite the criticism and opposition, the burkini has taken a wave in India, and it is here to stay. The growing popularity of the burkini among Muslim women and non-Muslim women alike in India is a sign of changing times. Hence, we can say that as modest fashion grows, burkinis and other similar modest clothes are bound to become popular in India.

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