The French government has branded companies who promote the sale of burkinis as “irresponsible”.
The criticism came days after Marks & Spencer launched two full-length swimwear styles online.
The new range, which promises to cover the whole body, “without compromising on style”, is also set to go on sale at the retailer’s Marble Arch store in London.
Learning of M&S’ decision to sell the burkini in Britain, Lauren Rossignol, France’s women’s rights minister slammed the move, saying that brands who invest in the “Islamic garment market” are promoting women’s bodies being locked up.
“You cannot pass off as trivial and harmless the fact that big brands are investing in a market that puts Muslim women in a situation of having to wear that,” she told RMC radio.
“It is irresponsible on the part of these brands. All those who participate in how society is represented have a responsibility.”
A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: "M&S provides a wide range of quality swimwear. We have sold this item for a number of years and it is popular with our customers internationally."
France made it illegal to wear a face covering veil in public places on 11 April, 2011.