What are burkinis?
They’re a recent retail invention, not a religious requirement in any country. Around a decade ago an Australian woman of Lebanese origin created a swimsuit for Muslim women designed to permit them to keep their bodies covered while working as lifeguards on Australian beaches.
Her design was dubbed the burkini or burqini.
Burkinis cover the head, torso and limbs – much like a wetsuit with a hood. The word conflates the words bikini and burqa, a full-body covering with only a mesh screen for the eyes. Burqas are worn primarily in Afghanistan.
Burkinis are rarely seen in France, where you’re more likely to spot women sunbathing topless. International sales reportedly have soared in response to French efforts to restrict their public display.