→ KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND AND YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
2020 marks 15 years since we opened our first ALPHA60 store on Brunswick St, Fitzroy with nothing but ambitious ideas, a sledgehammer, and of course, each other. However, ALPHA60 wasn’t the first business endeavour we had pursued together.
As kids we set up a lemonade stand at Mum and Dad’s nursery – quickly realising there was greater demand for champagne and orange juice than lemonade itself from our nursery clientele.
Swiftly adapting our business model to serve solely the more lucrative (what we later learned were) mimosas, our little stall became highly profitable and our love for retail was ignited.
Though we’ve come a long way since then, that same passion remains and is what drives us to come to work with a smile everyday.
Like many lately, we have had time to reflect on and revisit some of our favourite stories from our journey together. In having a chat and sharing these stories with you we hope to illustrate our dedication for what we do and why we will continue to do it – together.
Xoxo Alex and Georgie
A: Hello Sister
G: Hello Brother
A: That’s a cute pic – do you remember where it was?
G: Yep – on holidays in South Mole Island in QLD, you were 11 and it was my 9th birthday. This photo sums us up to this day.
A: As you know “keep your feet on the ground – and your head in the clouds” is our little working motto, what does that mean to you?
G: We have always believed no idea is too big, bounded only by our imaginations but with our feet on the ground we get the work done that needs to be done. We have never been afraid of hard work.
A: We have had a lot of different businesses together since we were young- selling flowers, bags, muffins, potpourri and t-shirts – what do you think has allowed us to work together for so long?
G: I think it’s because we have different personalities and skills but the same goals and luckily the same aesthetic. I recall a number of times when we have bought the same Christmas present for each other – it must be some shared consciousness from spending so much time together.
A: I still have the first shirt that we ever made as ALPHA60, do you remember the story of how that came about?
G: Yes, we were going to a party and you we’re complaining you had nothing to wear so I did a quick screen print on the pocket of a shirt you had and off we went. At the party we got 3 orders from friends so 1 turned into 3, then 3 turned into 10 and 10 into 50 and it just kept growing from there!
A: Obviously the first few years of ALPHA60 was very much a hobby for us as we never had any intention of making it a business. I remember when we decided to sell to some stores we would just rock up with a box of shirts — no look books, line sheets or order forms.
G: Oh gosh, so lucky those stores took a chance as they sold really well and since then we’ve figured out how to do the other things.
A: After getting a few small retailers as stockists — what do you remember as the first thing that changed where we thought we could actually make this into a proper business?
G: There were a couple of things but the thing that stands out most is when we got invited to hold a show as part of the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the NGA. This was exciting and scary at the same time as we didn’t have a range or any clue how to put one together. We made it happen and ended up doing a parade as a kind of reverse requiem where our models came out in coffins.
A: It’s lucky we were able to convince the models to get into the coffins because it was after that we got invitations to showrooms in Paris and Japan and stockists in Liberty of London, IT (Hong Kong) and Lane Crawford.
G: Since then, what has been your favourite memory?
A: It’s hard to limit this to a few but hosting French actress Anna Karina (the star of Alphaville) for a party in-store was incredible.
G: Yes she is my muse so sitting with her at The Sofitel, drinking wine and listening to her stories about Jean Luc Godard and Bridget Bardot was incredible.
A: Patti Smith visiting our Flinders Lane store and buying a t-shirt to give to Jean Luc Godard and the opening of the Chapter House store are also highlights.
G: The Chapter House opening was pretty wild. Having a space in the CBD where we can host everything from art shows to parties to dance performances has really opened up a whole new chapter for ALPHA60.
A: What about you George? What’s your favourite memory?
G: The 10-year show at MPavilion with the Snuff Puppets was amazing. I’m sure no one was expecting a wedding between a bride and a skeleton. Another favourite is seeing our uniforms at MONA for the first time while dining at Faro — that was very special. Oh and when we got the call that we were included in the NGV 200 Years of Australian Fashion Exhibition and following that when we got the news that our outfit had been purchased for the NGV permanent collection — that still gives me goose bumps.
A: And now, looking forward, what gets you excited about coming into work?
G: I think creatively the opportunities for ALPHA60 are endless and that in itself is exciting. And of course working with our ‘Alpha Family’ everyday in the studio. We can keep our heads in the clouds as long as we keep our feet on the ground!
A: it’s been an incredible and at times surreal journey, but I couldn’t have done it without you George.