At Ricepaper the Label magic happens with the selection of fabric

By Keely Deighton

Ricepaper the Label was founded in 2017 by Eve Walton-Healey, the brand offers simple and elegant designs made ethically in Melbourne. 

The brand offers a small range of products that are released every season and are suitable for the unique changing weather conditions of Melbourne where, it is said, you can have four seasons in one day.

Ranging from boxy dresses to fitted trousers, all the garments by Ricepaper the Label are made from deadstock materials, meaning the fabrics used are excess stock that may have ended up in landfill. 

Eve usually works alone, communicating with her makers, suppliers and customers as well as fulfilling customer orders. The designer works with two Melbourne-based garment manufacturers, meaning all of the brand’s production can be overseen to ensure safe working conditions and the quality of the garments. 

According to Eve, Ricepaper the Label offers small runs of each garment, between 10 to 16 of each style and colourway. Eve has worked hard over the last few years to ensure her brand is as transparent and ethical as possible creating a beautiful, timeless label.

“The concept of Ricepaper really came and was based around the idea of transparency- inspired by ethically made and quality pieces that breathe longevity and versatility in a wardrobe,” Eve says.

Eve was inspired to launch her brand by the opening of fast fashion chain H&M in Melbourne, she says.

“I was in my final year at university and even back then, I was still a supporter of ethically made products but this idea of H&M kicking all the Australian designers out of the GPO Building – a beautifully curated space for Australian made products to be showcased – really was the turning point for me. It was also the start of fast fashion arriving in Australia,” explains Eve.

So Eve made the decision that if she was to start a fashion brand it would have to be sustainable, ethical and have a transparent supply chain. Workers rights and safety plays a big part in the brand. Having seen mistreatment of fashion industry workers, Eve knew this could not be a part of her brand and which is why her garments are manufactured locally in Melbourne, so she can ensure that her workers are being looked after.

“A garment should not be made with so much struggle- for the sake of being $10 cheaper and for 20 more on the shop floor, it certainly goes against all my ethics and values.”

To create sustainable garments Eve uses locally sourced deadstock fabrics, which helps to inspire her creative choices. Eve says that she doesn’t usually draw to create garments, instead she comes up with an idea or concept that develops over months and these ideas are then toiled and made into patterns. 

She finds inspiration in travel, fabrics and shapes but mostly from “fabrics and textures and how they relate to shape and the female form”. The sourcing of the deadstock fabric assists in the final vision of the garments, Eve says:

“I always think the magic happens at the selection of the fabrics … I am a very visual person, so feeling and touching the fabrics is usually where the final selections happen and the garment comes to life,” explains Eve. 

Eve hopes that the work she has done with her brand will help guide other designers in the Australian fashion industry.

“I think, as always, our industry needs to demand the need for more ethically and locally produced clothing, garments that are designed as more of an investment rather than to serve consumer satisfaction,” says Eve. 

“We need to educate the general public on the value of investing in a product that is ethically produced and produced with transparency, and lastly there needs to be more movement towards labels taking more accountability for how they are manufacturing and producing.”

Find Ricepaper the Label @ricepaperthelabel on Instagram and shop the brand online at ricepaperthelabel.com

Discover more interesting independent Australian fashion brands in our list of Brands & Designers.