In 2006 a group of mates were sat around having a laugh in a backyard in Australia when they decided to write Budgy Smuggler on the back of speedo-style swimwear and from there Aussie sportswear brand has become a sensation, much to everyone's surprise.

The rise of the Budgy Smuggler

After a decade of growth the family-owned brand from Manly, Sydney, decided to set up a UK base in 2016 so fans of the brand in the UK & Europe could enjoy wearing their Budgy Smugglers in the lovely English sunshine.

Who could forget when Prince Harry tried them on in October while in Sydney for the Invictus Games or when Wallabies player Kurtley Beale posed with Prince William in s pair after an international Rugby game against Wales.

It was that snap that went viral after US basketball player Shaquille O’Neill posted an edited version to his 10 million Instagram followers.

Popular with rugby teams

Aussie born Jimmy Exelby the Chief of UK Smuggling operations says "The Royals are very popular in Australia and people like it when they adopt our local customs. Maybe it’ll will help start a global trend. Just is the past year our UK numbers have tripled and we’ve had orders for our custom swimwear from over 100 clubs this year, including many of the men’s and women’s Premiership Rugby teams and quite a lot of the Netball Super League teams".

Mental Health campaign

And, it's not only sports players who are fans of the Budgy Smuggler, says Jimmy, "Stag do's love them, in the UK it is has stepped up from what it is in Australia, they go to some amazing European location and just sit around in their Budgy's, we have just launched a new range which you can personalise with the stag's face".

The brand also have another famous fan in the form of England rugby and Saracens player Billy Vunipola who discovered Budgy Smugglers while on tour in Croatia last year. He thought to himself half jokingly "What swimwear business doesn't need a 130kg Tongan-Englishman as a male model".

"His management then reached out to the company and it we thought of course we needed a 130kg Tongan-Englishman on the books.

Billy doesn't mind a bit of a laugh so we thought we'd take the mick completely out of him and do a shoot similar to a model one Cristiano Ronaldo did which is very serious," laughs Jimmy

On a serious note though, the campaign is part of a broader mental health issue Budgy Smuggler are tackling. Jimmy says, "Young men are getting told they need to be a super ripped instagram model and its causing them confidence issues.

So, having someone of Billy's physic who's also an incredible athlete and more importantly a nice bloke off the field, is part of countering that. We thought we'd recreate something fun to outline a serious issue. In 2019 we're looking to release a Billy Smuggler range - think Air Jordan's but for swimwear.'

The goal for Budgy Smuggler now is to to overtake their Australian sales figures by 2020.

Budgy Smuggler is hosting a pop-up at London's Old Street Magic Roundabout December 10-15.