Georgie and Alex Cleary
Brother and sister duo Georgie and Alex Cleary are the founders of Melbourne fashion label Alpha60. Their sophisticated garments are inspired by contemporary art and Melbourne itself.
For Georgie and Alex, art is at the heart of what they've done since 2005. At the start of each new collection, the duo head to the city, to walk its streets and laneways, and gallery hop, in what has now become a ritual.
'We visited galleries from a young age,' Georgie says. 'We've always been inspired by immersive experiences.'
'We've often thought Alpha60 wouldn't be able to start anywhere else, other than Melbourne.'
Georgie and Alex make trips to small city galleries, plus the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) and Heide, where they fall in love with an artwork and take inspiration from colour palettes or the 'overall vibe' of each individual piece.
'We're constantly checking in on art to be inspired,' Georgie says. 'It's a strong running theme for us.'
The Cleary's always knew they wanted to open a store in Flinders Lane. They launched their concept store and exhibition space in 2016, in Chapter House, next to St Paul's Cathedral. 'It's something you wouldn't expect to find in the city,' Georgie says. 'You have to walk up three flights of stairs and people don't often know what they're going to see once they get there.'
With interests that range across art, music and food, the siblings continually look for ways to evolve their fashion label in Melbourne.
'We see it as a conversation where we listen and then respond and it's just back and forth. We're always looking to Melbourne to get that, and to grow together.'
Georgie and Alex show us around some of their favourite places.
1. NGV and Heide MoMA
The seed for each new Alpha60 collection begins with an 'art hit' at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). With its permanent collections split over two locations and a range of exceptional, often ground-breaking international touring shows, the gallery is always their starting point for new creative work.
Another special place for the duo is Heide Museum of Modern Art. Georgie finds the gallery's gardens particularly inspiring. 'It’s calming and gives us a moment of peace and quiet in such a busy life.'
2. Cam's Kiosk
Set in the Abbotsford Convent, Cam's has a stunning courtyard and serves delicious food. Georgie and Alex often stop in at the cafe during the afternoon for a bite and a glass of wine. They love it so much they took their staff there for Christmas.
3. Local galleries
Melbourne's smaller, independent contemporary art galleries such as Tolarno Galleries and Anna Schwartz Gallery are also favourites. Georgie and Alex often wander through these creative spaces, getting to know ambitious artists from around Australia and the world.
4. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Cranbourne Gardens
Georgie and Alex grew up on a nursery and rose farm, so plants and nature have always been a big part of their life. The diverse Australian flora – up to 170,000 individual native plants– at the Cranbourne Gardens is a standout. 'The landscaping is so amazing – it's almost a work of art in itself.'
The two loved their last experience at Gimlet, Melbourne luminary Andrew McConnell's latest venture. Set in the 1920s Cavendish House on Russell Street, this glamorous cocktail bar is conveniently located near to the Alpha60 Flinders Lane store. Their recommendation? 'Try the Gimlet'!
6. Ross Farm
Out of town, Georgie and Alex are keen on Ross Farm in Meeniyan in Gippsland as a getaway. They're excited to get back out to explore the delights of Gippsland very soon. 'The food and produce is incredible in the region. Yum!'