Here’s the background: following a series of deadly jihadist attacks across France over the last few months, 15 French towns have banned the burkini. Their rationale? The garment is a public symbol of religion, and such displays go against the country’s secular code.
Zanetti disagrees: “Anyone can wear [the burkini], Christian, Jewish, Hindus. It’s just a garment to suit a modest person, or someone who has skin cancer, or a new mother who doesn’t want to wear a bikini, it’s not symbolising Islam.
“When I named it the burkini I didn’t really think it was a burqa for the beach. Burqa was just a word for me – I’d been brought up in Australia all my life, and I’d designed this swimsuit and I had to call it something quickly. It was the combination of two cultures – we’re Australians but we are also Muslim by choice.”
The ban has sparked global outrage. Next Thursday, France's Council of State (the highest administrative court) will examine a challenge to the ruling on the grounds that it stigmatises Muslims.
Meanwhile, sales of the burkini have gone through the roof, as non-Muslims buy up big in protest.
But Zanetti’s attention is on the bigger issues at hand.
“This negativity that is happening now and what is happening in France makes me so sad. I hope it’s not because of racism. I think they have misunderstood a garment that is so positive – it symbolises leisure and happiness and fun and fitness and health and now they are demanding women get off the beach and back into their kitchens?
“I don’t think any man should worry about how women are dressing – no one is forcing us, it’s a woman’s choice.”