Unilever’s Magnum explores sustainable fashion, digital realm with cocoa dress

    • Unilever’s premium brand Magnum ice cream has partnered with luxury Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen to create a wearable, vegan cocoa bean dress coined the first of its kind in the haute couture space, according to a press release.
    • The dress, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week and was worn by model Cindy Bruna, features a three-dimensional design and copper-coated embellishments and was made from processed cocoa bean husks, intended to reflect Magnum’s ice cream’s dedication to sustainability and support its vegan ice cream range.
    • The partnership falls under a larger collection created by van Herpen that connects the Magnum brand to a conversation surrounding digitalism and the metaverse. Both the designer and the brand shared exclusive content on Instagram and TikTok this week. 

    Magnum ice cream’s partnership with Iris van Herpen not only widens its reach to the luxury fashion community and further elevates its premium status, but also represents the brand’s first steps toward its circular fashion ambitions and continued sustainability efforts, an aspect many companies have begun prioritizing in recent years, including corporate parent Unilever. 

    Using Magnum’s own ingredients, the foundation of the dress was created with 3D printing technology and cocoa bean husks that were processed to create a fully organic biopolymer material. The dress further emphasizes sustainability with details including upcycled organza and is also an ode to Magnum’s vegan offerings with intricate details including plantlike body embellishments.

    Reaching into the fashion industry with a sustainable product could help Magnum attract new consumers from that audience. Sixty-three percent of fashion consumers consider a brand’s promotion of sustainability to be an important purchasing factor, a McKinsey study found. Sustainability in general has also been a growing concern for consumers globally, with 43% reporting they want to buy more from organizations that benefit society, even if those products or services cost more, according to the June 2021 EY Future Consumer Index. 

    This isn’t the first luxury fashion collaboration for Magnum, who also previously partnered with supermodel Cara Delevingne and Moschino to celebrate the launch of two new ice cream flavors and supermodel Bella Hadid and designer Alexander Wang to create a leather-wrapped cooler bag. The company has also recently attempted to widen its reach to the beauty community with its collaboration in May with Nails.INC to launch a line of six chocolate-scented nail polishes inspired by its ice cream Duet Bar. 

    Touching on another trend, the partnership between van Herpen and Magnum strategically places the ice cream brand into the discussion surrounding digitalism with the dress being part of the designer’s “Meta Morphism” collection, which explores society’s growing interest in the digital realm following the arrival of the metaverse and evokes the question of who we are beyond a perceived reality.

    Magnum ice cream also stepped into the metaverse in June with a partnership with Deliveroo to launch the Magnum Pleasure Museum in Decentraland to attendees of the Met AMS festival  in Amsterdam. The virtual exhibit showcased original artwork from previous Magnum collaborations with painters and illustrators and allowed guests to order ice cream that would be delivered to them in real life, a concept that other food brands have also begun exploring.


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