Food Sustainability - Fashion from Recycled Food Waste - The Mango Dress
October 22, 2020
The Calypso® Mango Dress - weaving magic from mango seeds
A year 12 student has created a spectacular dress from an unexpected source – the husk from one of Australia’s favourite summer fruits, a Calypso® mango.
Jessica Collins from Queensland created the ivory full-length frock as part of her final Design and Technology project, using 1400 seed husks – that’s 700 mangoes which is equivalent to 280kg of Calypso® mangoes.
Only the Calypso® mango variety has the unique properties to make this dress possible. Their unique smaller, thin seed structure allows the them to be woven together to form the skirt of this dress.
Her parents’ farm, Blushing Acres in far north Queensland, grows Calypso® mangoes for the Perfection Fresh Group. These large mangoes are known for their firmness, sweetness, and small seed.
The 17-year-old year 12 student came up with the idea after years of seeing over-ripened mangoes go to waste at the farm.
“Normally the overripe mangoes and husks are put into landfill at home, and they take a very long time to break down. The seeds are used to plant more mango trees but there’s very little people are doing with the husks.”
Jessica said the farm has also used the husk for animal fodder, and it can be processed and used as mulch, but this form of use creates beauty from waste.
“I love the thought of mixing sustainability with fashion. I’ve worked in the packhouse at home and I’m very strict on the quality standards of our fruit so there’s often quite a lot of mangoes that we don’t pass – people deserve the very best of our fruit.”
In creating the dress, Jessica started collecting the seeds of overripe fruit. She cut off the flesh and froze for family smoothies, and then used a pressure cleaner to strip the remaining fruit. She dried them in the humidifier to avoid mould, then slice around the outside of the husk.
“I looked at the patterns of the husk and started to create the corset and the dress itself. I considered various colour options, but once they’d dried, the husks became a beautiful pearl colour so I decided to leave them natural.”
Jessica designed the dress, and then hand sewed on the husks in rows of 20 with 70 per row. Jessica’s mother said despite limited technology and finances, she had developed a beautiful product.
“There’s a lot of potential for the use of the husk, it can be made into a natural fibre.”
As part of her submission, Jessica has prepared an 80 page portfolio outlining her design processes along the way.
Perfection Fresh CEO Michael Simonetta said: “We take great pride in the quality of all our fruit – Calypso® mangoes included – so our standards are always high.
“We know consumers want a premium product, and we’ve been very pleased to be working with Jessica’s parents for some years now.
As the new generation, Jessica brings an element of innovation and initiative that is always wonderful to see.”
Jessica is considering a career as a nurse or paramedic, but has always loved design and will consider fashion as she nears the end of her schooling.
About Calypso® mangoes
The perfect Summertime snack – get a face full of flavour with the one and only Calypso Mangoes. That’s what our Calypso® mangoes are all about. The golden daughter of a Kensington Pride and Sensation Mango, the Calypso® takes the best of both varieties. Pure, juicy sweetness with a soft, stringy bits-free flesh. There's More flesh, and a smaller seed! Used in sweet and savoury dishes, from salads, chutneys and sauces to desserts, entertaining and snacks.