Beautiful clothes with an eccentric twist, is one way to describe Alpha60. The covetable Australian label with its unique aesthetic is comprised of a brilliant mix of artistry and intellect where bold, minimalist contemporary shapes merge with theatrical details that make for fun, offbeat collections.
Adhering to the idea that ‘fashion is whatever you make it,’ designer and co-founder, Georgie Cleary works closely with her brother Alex, who largely takes care of the business side of the label. Along with a design assistant and production manager, they work from a Fitzroy-based, open warehouse in Melbourne with views overlooking Carlton Gardens.
“Music is always playing in the background and FKA Twigs is currently on high rotation. It’s a fun, family environment [where] everyone works hard, but there is always time for a laugh and a giggle,” says Georgie.
The sophisticated, yet quirky label was conceived ten years ago when Georgie made a shirt for Alex. This subsequently saw friends submitting their orders, and Georgie’s garments were also being stocked in local boutiques, until she could no longer keep up with demand. Starting the label on a full-time basis and running a business seemed like the only option, and one that the pair have joyously embraced.
Taking the name from a black and white, Jean-Luc Godard film ‘Alphaville’ in which a computer called Alpha60 runs the world, the pair never envisaged running a business together, but in many regards it has evolved from a shared inclination towards the entrepreneurial.
“When we were nine and eleven-years-old, we started our first business cutting flowers from a farm, and selling them. We sold everything from muffins and Christmas cards, to champagne! I think we were always going to end up working together.”
One might easily assume that working with family comes with plenty of challenges, but both Georgie and Alex attest that they have never come to loggerheads. Alex cites ‘trust and respect’ as the immediate benefit of working alongside his sister—a woman he describes as creative and hard working with a great sense of humour, whilst Georgie is quick to speak of an energetic and intelligent brother, who is the perfect mix of ‘work and play.’
Both Georgie and Alex bring their contrasting skills and personalities to the table and work seamlessly as a complimentary pair. Fashion might be far removed from Alex’s background as an aeronautical engineer, but Georgie naturally gravitated towards fashion— initially working as a graphic designer for a fashion brand, she was soon appointed ‘womenswear designer’—a challenging role where she learnt on the job, much like an apprentice.
For Georgie and Alex it is the mix of creativity and business that drives the brand, providing plenty of scope and opportunities for the team, who often end up juggling multiple aspects of the business.
“We get to do so much more than just designing garments. We design retail spaces, we do photo shoots, shows, collaborations, shoes and bags…we work with staff, and business strategy. It is so diverse and constantly challenging. We like being busy!”
As for animosity and competition, the siblings say that they have yet to encounter any cliques in the fashion industry, instead they speak of an Australian fashion scene that is thriving, creative and unique, with a wonderful and supportive array of people.
Alex and Georgie undoubtedly have their hands full, and ten years on, Alpha60 is running full-steam ahead, boasting its ninth store, with five in Melbourne, three in Sydney and one in Perth.
If that’s not enough on their plate, they also release five collections per season, with a new drop each month. And although somewhat stressful, Georgie can’t help but get excited about each range, and this winter is no different: “There is a grey marle, wool bomber with embroidery on the back…I can’t wait for that!”
Creative and ambitious, Georgie and Alex are ‘grounded dreamers’ whose ultimate goal is to open stores in London, New York and LA.
“Our motto is: ‘Keep your feet on the ground and head in the clouds.’ As long as we continue doing what we are doing with more challenges along the way, we are pretty happy!”
All images courtesy of Alpha60.