Sustainable Styling

May 2016, By Nicole Langelier.
Photography by Dylan Lark of Aspect11.

Given that I deeply hate waste it may be a bit ironic that I am a total sucker for good packaging. That being said, if I like it enough to buy it – whatever it may be, it is quite likely that I will keep what it came in after the product itself has been removed or used. Call me crazy but I still have a butter tin from my years in Milan (repurposed as my sugar dish). I buy the Spanish paprika because of the 1970s frolicking couple on the packaging which I have repurposed as a toothpick cup and I take empty sake’ cans home from Japanese restaurants and store matchbooks in them. I also keep paper shopping bags from good shops which double nicely as lunch bags – I even brought a few to Australia with me from Milan. The leader of the pack was a sturdy little Chanel paper bag that was eventually ‘re-gifted’ to a friend here in Melbourne when I brought a plate of food to a dinner party. *I have never bought anything from Chanel FYI – I acquired the bag from my former business partner in Milan who had a thing for labels. That bag got around.

In a world of excessive waste, good packaging is even more important. If this thing you buy – let’s call it ‘It’ can be reincarnated as something else or simply reused, ‘It’ will be less likely to end up in a land fill the minute you unwrap it.

Waste is a big part of the styling industry. New things come overly packaged and the waste is potentially overwhelming. At D+D we do everything we can to minimise our impact, starting with reusing all the packing materials we can (we still have not bought any packing materials to date – almost a year on), but my preferred way to minimise the waste of new packaging is to not buy new at all. I find furniture and treasures from auction houses, opp shops, private clients – you name it. Generally I prefer these things too. They may not be the latest, but they are often the greatest. New products these days are not the quality they once were, so if I can pick up a preloved treasure I am winning on all fronts – affordability, uniqueness, style, quality and impact on this fair planet.

People are getting more clever when it comes to packaging thankfully. Thoughtful product designers are making products designed to be reused or packaging that is itself a product. I have done a lot of research looking for interesting products/ packages to accompany this blog post. Most of the interesting ones are small items (see below link), but my favourite is a big one that would normally produce a lot of waste – a TV box that converts to an ET, it’s a shame its just a concept…. A lot of these products and packaging I found on a website I just recently rediscovered – I highly recommend checking it out as it is full of stylishly green products, concepts and articles. Another great green living site is It is new to the market but has a lot to offer and is worth a go.

On the back of this post I feel compelled to do more by using less and reusing more. There are people out there who produce zero waste – totally hardcore! I can’t see how we at D+D could be totally waste free, but we can do better and my pledge to you and to myself is that we will do just that.