Marks & Spencer has confirmed that its burkini collection has sold out.
The full-body swimwear collection was heavily criticised by Lauren Rossignol, France’s women’s rights minister, who said that brands who invest in the “Islamic garment market” are promoting women’s bodies being locked up.
But despite the criticism, the range has proved popular with British women, selling out at Marks & Spencer’s Marble Arch store, where it launched in March, and online, reports The Independent.
The news comes after a controversial ban of the burkini swimsuit in France was lifted by a top court.
The Council of State decreed that mayors in the French Riviera don’t have the right to ban burkinis or enforce fines or removal of the garment on the beach.
It seems the ban, which spanned more than 30 French towns, only boosted global sales of the full-body swimsuit, particularly from non-Muslim customers, according to Ahiida Zanetti, the Australian-Lebanese designer who created her first burkini more than 10 years ago.
Speaking to indy100, Zanetti said that some 40% of her clientele are not actually Muslim.
“The burkini swimsuit was never a type of swimsuit to symbolise a Muslim woman. I took away the traditional veil which did symbolise a Muslim woman, and replaced it with a hood type of top to blend in and integrate within Australian culture and lifestyle. It was also meant to be worn by all women no matter what race, religion, shape, colour and for whatever reason,” the designer said.
“Women have the choice to choose what they want to wear or not and I don’t think anyone should take this away from them,” she added.
Another brand, UK-based Modestly Active, told CNN Money that burkini sales have increased 50% in the wake of the controversy.