Year 12 student Jessica Collins wows with her homemade gown made from a VERY unlikely source

A Year 12 student has taken the fashion world by storm after creating a stunning ballgown made from a very unlikely material.

Jessica Collins, from Far North Queensland, used seed husks from 700 mangoes to sew her ivory full-length dress as part of her final Design and Technology project. 

The 18-year-old, a boarding student at Abbotsleigh School in Sydney’s Wahroonga, said the idea to make the sustainable dress came to mind after years of seeing overripened mangoes go to waste at her family’s farm.

‘In the packing shed, we see a lot of mangoes go to waste… Normally the overripe mangoes and husks are put into landfill at home,’ Jessica told Daily Mail Australia.

And so the teenager started collecting the seeds of the overripe tropical fruit.

From there, she cut off the flesh and froze them for family smoothies, and then she 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.

Year 12 student Jessica Collins (pictured) created a ballgown made from a very unlikely source

Year 12 student Jessica Collins (pictured) created a ballgown made from a very unlikely source

The 18-year-old used seed husks from 700 mangoes to sew her ivory full-length dress as part of her final Design and Technology project

The 18-year-old used seed husks from 700 mangoes to sew her ivory full-length dress as part of her final Design and Technology project

‘I looked at the patterns of the husk and started to create the corset and the dress itself,’ she explained. 

‘The seeds worked perfectly on the dress because they’re flat and small. Once they’d dried, the husks became a beautiful pearl colour so I decided to leave them natural.’ 

She designed the gown and hand sewed on the husks in rows of 20 with 70 per row.

The teenager ended up using 1,400 seed husks from 700 mangoes to create her spectacular dress, which is equivalent to 280 kilos of mangoes.

She cut off the flesh and froze them 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

She cut off the flesh and froze them 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

Once the seeds dried, the husks became a beautiful pearl colour so she decided to 'leave them natural' when she made her sustainable dress

Once the seeds dried, the husks became a beautiful pearl colour so she decided to ‘leave them natural’ when she made her sustainable dress

The teenager said she spent four months creating her stunning dress, about three hours a day

The teenager said she spent four months creating her stunning dress, about three hours a day

Jessica said she travelled home to her family’s farm during the peak of covid where she spent the next four months putting the dress together.

‘I was spending three hours a day working on it,’ she explained.

‘There were definitely many challenges like I broke a couple of needles. I had to do a bit of trial and error. But I’m really happy with it. I’m glad I finished it.’

As part of her subject’s submission, Jessica prepared an 80-page portfolio outlining her design processes along the way.

Her mother Kylie said despite limited technology and finances, her daughter developed a beautiful dress, which now weighs five kilos.

‘There’s a lot of potential for the use of the husk, it can be made into a natural fibre,’ her mother said.

The idea to make the sustainable dress came to mind after Jessica spent years of seeing overripened mangoes go to waste at her family's farm

The idea to make the sustainable dress came to mind after Jessica spent years of seeing overripened mangoes go to waste at her family’s farm

Her mother Kylie said despite limited technology and finances, her daughter developed a beautiful product

Her mother Kylie said despite limited technology and finances, her daughter developed a beautiful product

Her parents Kylie and Sam Collins have been growing Calypso mangoes on their farm called Blushing Acres in Far North Queensland for the Perfection Fresh Group since the fruit variety was first introduced in 1999.

Fast forward, the family have been delivering hundreds of thousands of Calypso mangoes to supermarkets all over Australia every year.

But not every mango makes it onto shelves as the farmers ensure each fruit meets strict rules on quality and aesthetics before they are packed into boxes, ready to be delivered to grocery stores.

‘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,’ Jessica said. 

She dried the seeds in the humidifier to avoid mould, then slice around the outside of the husk

She dried the seeds in the humidifier to avoid mould, then slice around the outside of the husk 

Jessica - who recently got accepted into her nursing course after completing her final HSC exams - said she hopes to see the mango seeds turned into a cotton fibre

Jessica – who recently got accepted into her nursing course after completing her final HSC exams – said she hopes to see the mango seeds turned into a cotton fibre

Jessica – who recently got accepted into her nursing course after completing her final HSC exams – said she hopes to see the mango seeds turned into a cotton fibre.

‘There’s so much waste in the mango industry so I’d love to see the seeds be made into a wearable fibre, like cotton in the future,’ she said.

‘I love the thought of mixing sustainability with fashion. I think it’s a very big possibility – I’d love to see that happen.’

Speaking about her plans for after high school, Jessica said she has dreamt of becoming a nurse since the age six.

‘I’ve always loved helping people… But if something comes up in the fashion industry, I’d love to do that as well,’ she said.

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