IL: New Swimwear Well-Suited to Modest Muslim Lifestyle


Ronza Othman waited until night to dip in the pool on family vacations, swimming with female relatives only after the men had gone to sleep.

She's a Muslim who wears a headscarf and traditional dress, and even the most tame swimsuits didn't fit into her code of modesty.

But a design created by a Muslim woman with a love of scuba diving offered 25-year-old Othman, an attorney from south suburban Burbank, the opportunity to do something she never thought possible: swim in public.

She replaced her typical wading outfit of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with a full Splashgear swimsuit -- pants, top and head covering -- before cruising to the Caribbean in March.

"I never thought I'd be swimming in the ocean, and I got to do that," she said. "I've swam in private before with just women around, but this was actually kind of liberating."

Splashgear isn't the only business offering floral-print swimsuits with sleeves, skirts, high necks and long shorts or pants.

A handful of Internet-based businesses are finding a lucrative market in alternative swimwear, selling thousands of suits a year to women by advertising over religious networks ranging from Mormons to Muslims.


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