Modesty & Spencers


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CONTENTIOUS: M&S Collection’s burkini has been causing ripples of controversy in France (Pic Credit: M&S online)

CONTENTIOUS: M&S Collection’s burkini has been causing ripples of controversy in France (Pic Credit: M&S online)

Burkini ‘irresponsible’ says France

Britain’s shoppers are growing increasingly diverse, and in a sign of the times, Marks and Spencer has decided to stock a range of funky burkinis in their shops.

The burkini, which helps wearers retain their modesty whilst swimming and bathing, made headlines in 2011 after TV chef Nigella Lawson donned one when holidaying on Bondi Beach in Australia.

The M&S version - costing £49.50 - is a lightweight, three-piece full body suit which promises to ‘cover the whole body with the exception of the face, hands and feet, without compromising on style’.

In branches of the chain in Dubai and Libya, where it has been on sale for three years, the product has flown off the shelves.

However, when France heard that the quintessentially British brand were selling the modest fashion item, their women’s right’s minister,  Laurence Rossignol, slammed the move.

Ms Rossignol said to RMC radio: “What’s at stake is social control over women’s bodies. When brands invest in this Islamic garment market, they are shirking their responsibilities and are promoting women’s bodies being locked up.”

She continued: “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.”

The Guardian’s Remona Aly said: “If I want to buy a burkini from M&S, I bloody well will.

“I think it’s about time that the patronising is sewn up once and for all. The hypocrisy of a fashion guru telling women what not to wear and a minister of women’s rights taking away the right of choosing to cover up, isn’t lost on me.”

The burkinis are available online from M&S and will soon be available to buy in the UK at the company’s flagship store in Marble Arch, London.

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