This teen from Australia created a mango seed gown to highlight how we as humans waste food.
Worldwide, a staggering amount of food is thrown out. To be exact, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. In the USA alone, about 2.6 trillion dollars worth of food is lost or wasted each year. This amount is enough to feed the less fortunate across the globe for 4 years. How is it possible that we are wasting such a staggeringly high amount of food?
Finally, Kylie and Sam Collins became the proud owners of a mango farm. That was about seventeen years ago. The farm was located in Queensland, Australia. During that time, each year, their mango farm supplied hundreds of thousands of mangos to store shelves.
Previously, one thing Kylie and Sam did not realize was the amount of food waste created by owning such a farm. The fruits have to undergo quality checks. Generally, if they don’t meet the requirements, they are chucked out onto a pile to rot.
The inspiration behind the mango seed gown
Kylie and Sam’s daughter, Jessica. Had an idea. Basically, she would highlight food waste and bring to light the reality of this problem by creating a mango seed gown. You heard that right, a dress made from the seeds of mangos.
It smells like dried mango, if anything, because we dried all the seeds out. It’s got a kind of pearly iridescence color to it, so when it goes out in the sunlight, it shines, actually. So it’s quite beautiful.”Jessica Collins
Additionally, Jessica says her family farm has to get rid of about 11,000 pounds of mangoes every single year. Speaking to the BBC, she said;
“I’ve always seen all the waste from the mangoes, and I just wanted to utilize something like that because it just gets thrown out and dumped on the farm, and it’s never seen again. So if I can use something like that and make an alternate source of income for farmers that are struggling, it would be really good.“Jessica Collins
Making the mango seed gown by hand
Indeed, creating a mango seed gown was not simple. Firstly, Jessica sewed the dress herself, and it took over four months to create. She used 1400 mango seeds from her family farm. Not only was her creation to be used to highlight the food waste problem worldwide, but it was part of her Grade 12 design and technology class project.
Jessica cut out each mango seed. And then, using a pressure cleaner, she was able to clean the seeds and get rid of any leftover mango flesh.
Each mango seed was dried and then cut in half. Jessica went on to stitch each half seed together, so the shiny insides are visible while the fibrous outsides remained unseen and hidden.
Jessica says her parents and even her design and technology teacher thought she was crazy, and her idea was far-fetched. However, It did not stop her from creating her spectacular mango seed gown!
“I think my mom and dad, they started to think I was crazy. Like, ‘You want to build a mini-skirt or something like that?’ I’m like, ‘No, I want the full gown.”Jessica Collins
Jessica hopes to inspire others with her idea
While it would be impossibly laborious for Jessica to start creating dresses from Mango seeds, she hopes her idea will inspire others to find new ways of using fruit rather than tossing it out just because it did not meet food safety standards and tests.
Additionally, one idea is to crush and convert the seeds into a type of fiber to create clothing.
“It would be like cotton or silk or linen… That would definitely be more suitable. There’s a lot of farms around here that would definitely love to be able to see those mangoes used in a way, instead of just dumping them on the farm. So I definitely think farmers would jump on that.”Jessica Collins
Jessica says her dress is always stunning people, which shows the possibilities of utilizing rather than wasting.
“When people see the dress, they’re always surprised it’s made from mango husks. There are always thousands of kilos of mangoes that just go to waste, and they just don’t make it off the farm. I’ve always wanted to solve that problem. In the future, maybe we could use the seeds instead of having to just throw them out. I would love to see mango seeds turned into a fiber, like cotton.”Jessica Collins