Primo Moda :: News and Press

News and Press

'I felt more welcome in the Bible belt',,2061608,00.html
Friday April 20, 2007
The Guardian, UK

By Manal Omar

Manal Omar had used her five-piece 'Islamic-style' swimsuit for years - in Rio, Washington and Kuala Lumpur - and it had never brought her more than a curious glance. Then she went for a dip in Oxford ...,,2061608,00.html


BeliefWatch: Surf's Up!
Muslim Swimwear

Newsweek Jan. 29, 2007 issue
By Lisa Miller

There is at least one moment in every religious person's life where commitment to faith collides, inconveniently, with desire. For Zeena Altalib, that moment occurred last year at the local swimming pool. An American Muslim of Iraqi descent, Altalib wanted to take her baby son, Yusif, for a swim. But what to do about the fact that her religion requires her to wear hijab, to cover herself from head to toe? A commercially available swimsuit was out of the question—not modest enough—but the makeshift options available to her were, as she puts it, "yucky." Tights and a long T shirt? Yuck. Some kind of lightweight tracksuit? Yuckier. So Altahib decided to take matters into her own hands. Today the swimsuit she designed is available online through her company, Primo Moda. It's a strikingly unsexy two-piece: a neck-to-ankle Lycra body stocking with a loose vest that goes on top. After years of swimming in her clothes, donning an actual swimsuit, says Altalib, "was an amazing feeling."

American Muslims, especially those in the second generation, say they live in two worlds—the traditional, religious world of their parents and the world of the rest of us. And the success of Primo Moda (Altalib says she's sold thousands of suits over the past year) is proof that they like it that way. Profoundly unrevealing swimsuits can be found online through a surprising number of companies. One, called Splashgear, based in Huntington Beach, Calif., has a slogan that might raise eyebrows: "Now go get wet!" Another—one that's generating a lot of buzz, if you can say that of a company that sells full-body bathing suits—is an Australian outfit called Ahiida. Its hooded "Burqini" is available in both slim-fit and modest-fit styles. For Muslim women who prefer winter sports, there's Capster, a Dutch company that makes fleecy, tight-fitting head coverings for skiers and ice skaters.

Just as Muslims are changing the face of America, American values and customs are changing them. Last year Suzanne Brahmia, who works at Rutgers University, started women-only swim nights at one of the university pools. About 60 women of all ages, including novice swimmers, now regularly attend. The ones who have bathing suits wear them; others wear shorts and T shirts. The modesty, explains Brahmia, is in the single-sex community, the female lifeguards and the paper that covers the windows. Brahmia, a convert who grew up Roman Catholic, a swimmer and a soccer player, believes that swimming is a life skill. She wears a regular tank suit.



A Day At The Beach - For Everyone

AQUA Magazine, May 2007 Issue

Because their religion dictates that Muslim women must cover themselves in public, in the past, they either avoided swimming or tried to swim fullyclothed. But now they have a third, much more comfortable option: new and improved full-body swimsuits. All body suits have been around for years, but have recently undergone a renaissance as the niche market has grown. Available online at sites such as, and, the suits consists of pants, long-sleeved tops and head coverings. Suppliers use high-tech synthetic-material combinations, including polyester, nylon and Lycra, which allow flexible movement in the water while not sticking to a woman’s body when she exits the water. The result: a comfortable, modest swimsuit.

Aheda Zanetti, an Australian designer who calls her suit the Burqini, says, “Every day women are walking into my Sydney shop and saying, ‘Finally, I don’t have to watch my husband and kids playing anymore; I don’t have to stand on the sideline.”

Muslim women are not the only ones interested in these suits. Zeena Altalib, who sells full-body swimsuits and a variety of other modest apparel through her Web site,, says, “I have non-Muslims who are actually ordering these swimsuits, as well. Yesterday, a female pastor e-mailed me and said: ‘I’m so glad you’re offering this modest, stylish clothing. My daughter and I have such a hard time finding clothes we like.’

“It’s really nice to have options,” adds Altalib.