Le burkini: d’où vient-il ?

The burkini: where does it come from?

The burkini, at the heart of discussions and emblem of cultural and religious diversity in public places, represents a complex intersection between fashion, belief and personal autonomy. Appearing in the early 2000s, this garment was created to meet a specific need: to offer Muslim women the opportunity to engage in water activities while adhering to the guidelines of their religion. However, the history of the burkini and its influence on society goes far beyond its original purpose. By examining its roots, its creation, and its various receptions, we gain a thorough understanding of its role.

What is the burkini?

The burkini is a type of swimsuit that covers the entire body except the face, hands and feet. Originally created for Muslim women wishing to bathe while respecting the precepts of their religion, the burkini has found an echo well beyond this community. Today, it is also adopted by other people, either for reasons of modesty or to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun .

The burkini typically consists of a long-sleeved tunic and pants, and is often accompanied by a hood or bonnet intended to cover the hair. Made from a blend of elastane with nylon or polyester, its fabric is similar to that used for water sports clothing, giving it lightness, flexibility and quick-drying ability. Nowadays, the market offersa variety of burkini styles, suitable for different aquatic environments and following the latest fashion trends.

Where does the term “burkini” come from?

The term “burkini” is a neologism formed by the combination of the words “burqa” and “bikini”. This word was made popular by Aheda Zanetti , an Australian designer of Lebanese origin, who saw in this garment a way of combining modesty and passion for the beach. Unlike the burqa, which completely hides the face, the burkini leaves the face exposed, more like a djilbab suitable for swimming. Zanetti has registered the terms “Burqini” and “Burkini” as trademarks, highlighting the innovative and unique aspect of his creation.

The origins of the burkini

The origin of the burkini dates back to the early 2000s, when Aheda Zanetti decided to create a garment allowing Muslim women to indulge in nautical pleasures while remaining faithful to their religious values.

Following the Cronulla riots in 2005, an event marked by racial and community tensions in Australia, Zanetti saw the burkini as a tool for inclusion and the promotion of tolerance. This garment was designed to help Muslim women feel part of the swimming and beach community, by providing an option compatible with their principles.

The launch of the “Burqini” brand by Zanetti met with international success, a sign of marked interest in a product meeting this specific need. The commercial success of the burkini, which resulted in the sale of hundreds of thousands of copies, illustrates the desire for fashion that reconciles respect for religious precepts and commitment to social and sporting activities.

Burkini and socio-cultural context

The burkini transcends the simple notion of swimming attire to become a crossroads where various cultures, religious beliefs and conceptions of modesty and independence intersect. Its development and dissemination raise fundamental questions regarding identity, free will and social integration in public spaces.

Discussions around the burkini are often marked by controversy, seen by some as a vector of emancipation and integration, while others consider it a sign of subjugation. These debates reflect broader issues relating to multiculturalism, secularization and women's freedom of dress .

The burkini and fashion

The burkini also illustrates the way in which fashion can serve as a site of expression for cultural and religious identities. By adapting traditional dress codes to modern activities, the burkini shows that fashion is a dynamic field , capable of adapting to the needs and values ​​of various social groups.

The popularization of the burkini has also encouraged other brands and designers to look at fashion from a more inclusive angle, by offering clothing that respects different modesty requirements, while being functional and aesthetically pleasing.

In summary, the burkini is much more than just a swimsuit. It reflects societal developments, dialogue between cultures and debates around identity and personal freedom. By offering a solution that reconciles respect for religious beliefs and love for aquatic leisure activities, the burkini represents a step towards a more inclusive society, where everyone can find their place without renouncing their values.

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