California Fashion Magazine Launches Burqini Swimsuit Issue—ooh La La…?
By Nazia Ali
Los Angeles (CA)—In a strategic move which has caused a little controversy but received much appreciation, Los Angeles fashion magazine Mirage launched the release of their first ever Burqini swimsuit issue.
The Burqini, which is considered a permissible full body swimsuit used in lieu of more revealing apparel such as the one-piece or the extremely popular bikini, has been a hit with Muslim women in Europe and certain countries in the Middle East. Originally designed by Lebanese-Australian Aheda Zanetti, Burqinis are full body suits with built-in neoprene hoods which prevent the hair from being disclosed.
Mirage, which has been capturing slick global clothing trends from polka dot hijabs to one-eyed Niqabs since 2000 believed it was the right time for the United States to start recognizing the latest and greatest in Muslim swimsuits which shows women, known as Burqini Babes, in arguably the most conservative sea-wearing apparel.
“This is really taking it to the next level and needed for Muslim women in this country,” said Rommana Diab, President of Mirage, who also mentioned circulation has already gained 1,000,000 subscribers both for the hard copy and digital edition of the magazine. “There are lots of girls that want to hit the sand for fun in the sun but are cautious with how they look. We think this swimsuit issue is going to give them confidence to get on the beach and feel proud of their bodies.”
Mirage’s swimsuit issue, titled “Khalifornia Girls”, features models in motley colored Burqinis playing, surfing and frolicking along the Redondo, Santa Monica and Venice shorelines. Despite considerations given to other regions in the country, Photography Director Dee Dee Rahman thought it best to debut the stylish swimsuits in the place where it all started.
“We’re Californians and kind of know that this is the epicenter of the swimsuit fad,” she said. It’s only right our Burqini babes get their start here as well.”
Although the magazine caters to women, men have been avid purchasers. “Wow, they look real good,” said Hamza Hamdani, a 33 year-old orthodontist from Irvine. “My glasses are starting to fog up with every turn of the page.” However everyone is not pleased with the swimsuit edition.
“I don’t understand why we always have to copy what everyone else is doing,” said Murad Hazakawai, Chairman for the Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF). “Sports Illustrated has their swimsuit edition. ESPN does the Body Issue. Now we have Burqini Babes? Come on man.”
But Diab refutes any reference to just another sexy magazine which objectifies women. “How can you objectify a woman when she isn’t showing anything? Hey if guys like it, all the more power. But we’re not being trashy.” She also denied reports Mirage was producing a Burqini Babes video featuring the 2003 Snoop Dogg summer hit “Beautiful.”
“I’m very proud that I participated in the issue,” said Sameera “Sammy” Samdani, a 23 year-old who was selected as one of just 12 Burqini Babes. “It was tough to get up every day at 5 am and head down to the beach. I figure I’m going to do this for some time since my job now is to look pretty in a Burqini. Besides daddy is a millionaire so I don’t have to do real work.”
While Burqinis have not become mainstream, the few women who have been sighted donning the suits have had no problems with the American public. “Well they’re kind of wearing what I imagine a Navy SEAL would have on when conducting training in the water. I don’t think I’d buy the magazine. But as far as I’m concerned it’s alright with me if women want to wear it,” said David Stubbard, a retired surf instructor from Laguna Beach.
No upcoming events have been planned to celebrate the issue, but Mirage plans to take the Babes on tour in the spring for calendar signings and fashion shows at Meena bazaars throughout the country.