For most of her career, Anne has supplemented her work in design with efforts to make this world a better, more cognizant place.
Anne Fontaine grew up surrounded by green. She spent the first twenty years of her life among the rich, rain-kissed leaves and lively animals of Brazil’s Mata Atlântica. Today, this forest has only 7% of its original surface left, yet 60% of Brazil’s population still depends on its generous supply of water.
Such a threat to this beautiful and vital part of Brazilian life is not something Anne takes lightly. As a successful business owner and fashion designer, Anne took her skills in art and leadership to create the Anne Fontaine Foundation, an organization with a long-term goal of preserving the Atlantic Rainforest. In its first five years of existence, the foundation has already hosted a number of conferences, led art initiatives, and partnered with local NGOs to promote sustainability and raise awareness.
For most of her career, Anne has supplemented her work in design with efforts to make this world a better, more cognizant place. Interested in all she has done for her country, we sat down with Anne to ask her more about her inspiration and her everyday life.
Traditions, culture, history, family life, femininity and women in daily life all inspire me.
For starting your business…
My husband’s family used to run a shirt factory, but as the competition got tougher, especially in the developing countries, the business was difficult to sustain. That’s when we decided to create our own label. It all started one day in the early nineties when I visited my mother in law. I discovered an old trunk in the attic that held the white shirts that my husband’s family had manufactured for male fashion brands. I had a moment of inspiration and decided to create my own brand with white shirts only! It made so much sense for me because, in Brazil, white is the color of happiness.
I created a new vision for the feminine shirt, and I wanted the white shirt to become an essential piece of every woman’s wardrobe. It goes with everything. Traditions, culture, history, family life, femininity and women in daily life all inspire me.
As a teenager, I spent several months in Amazonia, living with an indigenous tribe. They introduced me to their customs and their way of life, instilling in me a deep love for nature, wildlife and its virtues.
For making a commitment to ecological causes…
From a very young age, I was committed to my country’s ecological causes. I really liked being an activist and helping NGOs as frequently as I could. As a teenager, I spent several months in Amazonia, living with an indigenous tribe. They introduced me to their customs and their way of life, instilling in me a deep love for nature, wildlife and its virtues.
When I started in fashion, I shifted focus for a while; however, a few years ago, after my company reached a certain level of maturity, I felt that it was time to give back to nature! In 2011, I created the Anne Fontaine Foundation. Our goal is to use art and fashion to raise awareness for and contribute to the reforestation and protection of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlântica).
The Foundation seeks to educate the public by organizing art events in different schools. We also partner with NGOs that implement reforestation programs in Brazil. I want to help leave a healthy planet for the generations to come. I would like my three girls to be able to know this forest and know how to value both nature and themselves.
What you love most…
It depends on the city. My little, peaceful village in Normandy, France is surrounded by nature and silence. However, I also love New York because of its extraordinary energy, its inhabitants and its intense life. Both are two very inspiring atmospheres and I love this contrast.
Favorite afternoon café…
I am not an afternoon café person, but when I go out, I enjoy going to the bar of the Normandy Hotel in Deauville or at “La petite Chine” in Honfleur (a small port in Normandy). They please the eyes and the mouth. Their brunch is also excellent.
Go-to lunch place…
The courtyard of the Greenwich hotel in New York is my favorite. The food is just unbelievable, and everything is homemade and so tasty. When you are in the courtyard, it really feels like Tuscany. Only the fire trucks sirens remind you that you are in N.Y.
A night on the town…
I’m used to having dinner at the restaurant Aprazível in Rio de Janeiro. It is my favorite spot in Santa Tereza because of its amazing view, charming garden and fantastic grilled fishes.
Morning beauty routine….
I wake up at 5:30am, exercise, shower, and put on a day cream and a sunscreen. Then I eat a healthy breakfast with the kids!
I usually wear an Anne Fontaine white shirt and black legging with platform sneakers.
I reuse my travel amenities in planes, avoid LED plastic bags, use led lights, limit AC, avoid detergent by using eco soap, use only natural fertilizer in the garden, and reduce my car use in big cities.
What you do in your daily routine to help preserve the planet…
First, I teach my kids everyday actions that will preserve the environment. We also recycle as much as possible. In Normandy, we recycle almost 70% of the plastic bags. In New York it is more difficult. I also try to consume less and avoid everything that uses a lot of packaging. I reuse my travel amenities in planes, avoid LED plastic bags, use led lights, limit AC, avoid detergent by using eco soap, use only natural fertilizer in the garden, and reduce my car use in big cities. When in Paris and NYC, I always take the subway. We have to foster these individual habits, but we also need the attention and the action of the government to improve the situation, especially when it comes to education.
Favorite (eco-friendly) skincare products…
I use the Dr. Organic Rose Otto face scrub and face mask.
I love Issey Miyake.
A good book…
Earth’s Children by Jean M Auel
I do not use night cream, only organic coconut oil.
In the evening I have a relaxing, organic tea made of lavender, chamomile, and passionflower.