Runways at the 11th annual Swim Week in Miami Beach sported an unusual new swimwear trend this year: sleeves.

It seems that designers such as Maxim and Luli Farma are catching up to what companies like Undercover Waterwear, Hydrochic, and Aqua Modesta have known for a while: “modest” swimwear is making a comeback.

All founded by female entrepreneurs, these small businesses may have started in order to supply appropriate activewear for religious communities, but have found mainstream success with women who just want a bit more coverage.

“My faith is not an influence on my swimsuit choice,” Tulin Reid, marketing director of Plus Model Management and Hydrochic customer, told The Huffington Post. “I paddleboard and do water aerobics. It allows me to be athletic and active without worrying that something will pop out."

Still, author Wendy Shalit thinks the trend is part of a larger movement, one that women and girls themselves are leading.

“The only way to be liberated according to certain people, according to the experts, is to say if you’ve got it flaunt it,” the author of ”A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue,” “Girls Gone Mild,” and “The Good Girl Revolution” told NPR in a segment called “Modern Girls and the Modesty Movement.” “ I’m not advocating modesty. I’m not saying this is the only way and everyone has to do this, but I’m saying that girls are finding themselves that this is empowering. Let’s appreciate their choices and their setting boundaries instead of making a parody of them.”

Indeed, the idea of a “shvimkleid” (swimsuit dress) has been parodied before, notably in a YouTube video called “A trip to Miami” in which a character named “Chaya Suri” talks about how grateful she is for her shvimkleide. The video has been viewed over 360,000 times since it was first posted in 2011, but the modest swimwear business is no joke. With new vibrant prints and figure-flattering cuts, these companies continue to find commercial success selling suits that Chaya Suri would describe as “mamesh a stunning piece.”

talia@jewishweek.org