Let's start with the short story: the Portuguese word sunga literally translates as swim trunk. Voila!
Ok, now the long one. Everything started in the 1860s with the first swimsuits; however, getting anything close to our current swim trunks took a long time.
Two things played contributing factors: First, take swimmer and subsequent actor Johnny Weissmuller back in 1932. In portraying Tarzan, he became the first human being freed from the upper part of the old-style bathing suit.
The second factor, the World War – and the consequent fabric scarcity – would finish doing the job, consecrating the swimming trunks as a male bathing suit. Or at least something similar to swim trunks since the cut was much closer to boxer shorts.

Gradually, new technologies were incorporated into fabric manufacturing, which caused a considerable revolution in swimwear, so designs closer to the current sunga date back to the '60s. However, the unique Brazilian take on the garment has a slighter, flatter shape and a looser waistline than a Speedo or swim trunk.

Cariocas – a word used to refer to Rio de Janeiro locals – of all ages proudly wear sungas on beaches such as Copacabana or Ipanema. Because of this, the sunga is perhaps the truest embrace of the Carioca soul, offering a sense of freedom and belonging that transports you to Ipanema, no matter how or where you wear them.