Materials

For her dress designs  Anne uses fabrics made mostly of natural and organic fibres such as Silk, Cotton, Wool, Linen which are breathable and biodegradable, as well as recycled fibres.  The English lace she sources is made mostly from Cotton.  Other laces including European ones are often a mix of fibres, although Cotton and Silk lace as well as Organic Cotton lace are also options as are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) organic certified natural white silks. Anne uses some synthetic (e.g. Polyester, Polyamide, Nylon) and artifical fibres (Viscose, Acetate) either 100% of these in fabrics or mixes of them with naturals e.g. silk and viscose satin, silk and viscose velvet, but with a preference for natural fibres.  Viscose and Acetate are made from plant based cellulose such as Cotton, Bamboo, Wood, whereas synthetics are often made from Petroleum.  Anne sources most of her fabrics from UK based trade textile manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers.

Sewing and Threads

She sews everything by hand which reduces her power consumption.  For purity garments can be sewn with Cotton or Silk threads to match the fibre, but Anne sometimes uses recylced Polyester thread for strength, regardless of the fibre compostion of the garment.  If you think you may want to have a dress dyed that is designed and made for you then the sewing thread fibres must be the same as the dress fabric, otherwise the thread will not dye to match the fabric, because there are different dyes for different fibres.

Embroidery

Anne only uses her own embroidery and surface decoration designs.  She mostly uses embroidery threads made of Cotton or Silk and beads made of glass but she sometimes uses threads with some Viscose or synthetic content.

Clothes made to last

A lot of time and thought goes into designing and making handcrafted clothes.  The clothes Anne creates are designed to be sustainable  "slow fashion" in that they are handcrafted to last for years from very good quality fabrics.  Many of her luxury day dress, occasion wear and evening gown styles are classic or timeless so they can be worn season after season. Some wedding outfits could be dyed or re-styled, versatile designs can just be worn again and if there is a train on the bridal gown it could be made into a christening robe with the gown made into an evening or occasion dress.  Some brides want a bridal dress that can be preserved as an heirloom and/or that can be handed down for future generations to wear.  And some brides like to wear their wedding oufit again on wedding anniversaries.

Re-use, Re-purpose

She sometimes upcycles old dresses, such as fitting and restyling a bride's mother's or grandmother's wedding dress. 

Artwork

For her art Anne carefully chooses non-toxic light-fast pencils and oil pastels as well as eco-thinners to create her images. She works mostly with fine art papers which for centuries have been made in a sustainable way, some papers are made of acid free archival pulp from a sustainable source, others are made of Cotton and Cotton rag which are often off cuts from the textile industry.

She uses archival quality inkjet ink to print her cards with and she uses a fine art paper with the surface prepared for digital print to print them on, so you or the recipient of your card can frame her cards as pictures.

She generally frames her art in wood frames and she refurbishes some of them.

Jacksons Art have several blog posts that explain the different processes for making archival fine art paper and recylced paper (which is not usually archival) and their impact on the environment.

How eco-friendly is art paper?

How is paper made?

On location at St Cuthberts Paper Mill who have a commitment to protecting the environment

On location at Two Rivers Mill

(these Jacksons Art articles were accessed online on 8th January 2024)

Packaging

Anne wraps her cards in clear biodegradable, compostable breathable bags made from corn starch, a cellulose based polymer as opposed to the petroleum based polymer used for "plastic" bags.  Cards and prints do need a protective wrapping otherwise they would easily become soiled or marked from people touching them and from dust in the environment.  

She often re-uses packaging, such as used carrier bags, cardboard boxes, brown paper stuffing and corrugated paper protection, to send you your orders, or for you to collect them in, although for new dresses which she makes to order, she will usually protect them in a new breathable garment bag.  If you prefer to bring your own bag, Anne is quite happy for you to do so.

Deliveries

Anne uses Royal Mail for most of her deliveries to you, using their Parcel Collect service, a sustainable option because the Postie collects Anne's letters and packets to send to you while he/she is out delivering mail, on foot. For large parcels she may use ParcelForce who also collect from her.

Waste

Her business waste is collected by local carriers licenced by the Environment Agency who often have around 95% landfill avoidance rate so the waste is either sorted for recylcing or where possible for re-use. Any other general waste is sent to be used to make energy.

Website

This website is powered by Etsy with 100% renewable electricity, they have global zero waste policies and aim for net zero by 2030.  They also offset 100% of packaging and shipping emmisions for every delivery powered by Etsy.  For more details about Etsy environmental policies click here.

Domain Name

The UK based company who adminsiter her domain business e-mail and with whom her domain www.annefontenoy.co.uk is registered use 100% renewable energy in their Datacentre.

Energy

She uses an electricity company who has an average 54% electricty from renewable sources.  Gas heating is installed where she lives and works and at the moment she is unable to change this.

Business Travel

Anne works from where she lives so she has no commuting costs. Her business travel in the UK is by bus, train or walking as she does not drive.

Green Skills

Small Business Britain hosted a Green Skills for Small Business webinar series in the autumn of 2003 as well as a series of webinars being hosted around the same time by Katie Treggiden of Making Design Circular.  That course was about Shake off the "Shoulds", a course for creatives who aspire to explore ways to incorporate environmentalism into their practices.

The Green Skills Seminar shared information about how even micro businesses that work from home can work towards calculating their Carbon Footprint.  Anne will be devoting some time to work out hers.  It was empaphasised during the courses that this type of exercise is always a "work in progress" so she will do this gradually when she has spare time and she expects that it will take several years to work this out.  it will also need revising every year as more information becomes available.

March 2024 Sustainable Business Training with Sustainable Pathways - working towards a Sustainability Impact Assessment, a CPD course.

Updates

This post will be updated from time to time with more information about sustainability in Anne's dress design and visual art business.