Following the, frankly barbaric, forced removal of a woman's burkini on a beach in Cannes on Tuesday, online sales for the clothing have gone up by 200 per cent.
Aheda Zanetti, the Australian woman accredited with having invented the burkini – a swimming garment which covers the whole body except the face, hands and feet – says international coverage of the incident has resulted in unprecedented sales for the full-body swimsuit – a wetsuit she thinks is 'misunderstood' by French authorities.
'The burkini was intended to integrate and bring people together. To give them the freedom of choice to wear something modest if they choose to be modest for whatever reason they need to be modest for.
'It should be happy and positive. It is turning something meant to give women the freedom of participating in health and fitness into a negative thing,' she told WWD.
The news comes two days after photographs emerged online of armed French policemen making a woman remove part of her clothing and pay an £11 fine due to the city's temporary ban on the burkini.
The temporary ban (which ends on 31 August) rules:
Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism
Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order
Those wishing to purposefully ignore the ban are punishable with a fine of up to £33.
Appalled with the imposed fines, Rachid Nekkaz – an Algerian entrepreneur and human rights activist – has offered to pay any penalty a Muslim woman receives as a result of wearing a burkini.
'I decided to pay for all the fines of women who wear the burkini in order to guarantee their freedom of wearing these clothes, and most of all, to neutralize the application on the ground of this oppressive and unfair law,' he said.
This morning, the council of state (France's highest administrative court) announced it would examine a request by the French Human Rights League to overrule the ban on the burkini, stating that short-term bans such as this are illegal.
In April 2011, France became the first European country to ban the burqa and niqab in public, with more than 20 municiplaties in France – including Cannes – deciding to impose the ruling.
The country's president François Hollande deems Islamic clothing such as the burqa unpatrotic and based 'on the enslavement of women'.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Remember your national motto, France.