The Burqini–Photos courtesy of Ahiida.com
In the heat of the summer, we thought we’d take a look at the brand Ahiida, a label that hopes to be the lifestyle brand for swimming and athleticwear for Muslim women. Their biggest breakthrough is the Burqini—a two-piece that covers the head and most everything else, but is made of a fabric that makes swimming or running actually do-able.
We haven’t ever tried one and probably never will, but it is interesting to check out, and also read about why many Muslim women wear burqinis, burqas, and Khimars—whether they have to or not. An excellent story in Frank magazine by Rana Good provided some additional insight on the growing trend not only in the Middle East, but parts of France, Egypt, and elsewhere.
According to Ahiida, manufacturers of Burqini Swimwear, they hope to assist Muslim women around the world in choosing an active lifestyle. Their site showcases many fashionable styles, color pallettes, and sillhouettes. Prices are around $180.
In many Muslim countries, such clothing is mandatory and very strict such as the requisite burqas in Afghanistan. Good goes on to say that in parts of Iran, store owners are prohibited from dressing mannequins in “un-Islamic:” clothing that shows the female curves of the body. At a time when you’d think women are gaining certain freedoms, such as more women attending college and closer equal pay in the United States, there are many other places that have a long way to go. For example, Lubna al-Hussein, a Sudanese journalist, is facing a sentence of 40 lashes for wearing her pants too tight.
There also continues to be much controversy about women wearing burqas in France, home to the largest Muslim population in Europe. In parts of Egypt, many women are also facing a backlash as fashion grows more conservative. As some older women in Egypt point out, they didn’t wear headscarves growing up, but have found in their older lives, they are now wearing them based on social constraints and peer pressure. Which by the way, doesn’t always come from men, but other women as well. Muslim dress, like the Burqini, continues to polarize many different societies today. Although we are glad to know that there’s a brand that is addressing the fact that Muslim women do like to swim and participate in an active lifestyle.
Overall, during a season when we often take it for granted that we can wear our string bikini’s and hit the beach, it’s good to remember that freedom of fashion can be far more complicated than we realize.