Alpha60 opens new store in Newtown

For siblings Alex and Georgie Cleary, working together has always been written in the stars. The entrepreneurial duo started their first business before they even hit their teens, selling cut flowers by the side of the road, and have since made and sold everything from tea towels to skateboards. This resulted in Alpha60, an independent boutique and fashion brand which, since launching in 2005, has spread to 10 locations across Australia and New Zealand, including their new boutique in Newtown – within walking distance. blocks from their Sydney outlet store.

“One night Georgie printed a shirt and a few friends wanted one, and one turned into three, which turned into 50 and we just kept riding. In a way, it was good because it was so organic, and there was no pressure and we just did what we wanted, ”says Alex. Large format sheet.

The spacious 200 square meter new store in a former heritage listed post office on King Street looks more like a gallery than a boutique. There are giant iridescent mushroom sculptures (reused Christmas decorations made in the same foundry as Jeff Koons’ sculptures) and skewered checkered rugs that look like a psychedelic dream. Woven tapestries depicting grotesque depictions of humanoid babies and monkeys by famous Australian artist Patricia Piccinini are used as cloakroom curtains and sofa cushions, and are available to purchase as a limited edition blanket series.

“I love the contrast of the heavy, warm feel of the covers, but with the uncomfortable images. A lot of people are really weird about Piccinini’s work, which I really like. His art arouses emotion in people, ”explains Alex. “Shopping should be an experience, not just a transaction. If you just want to buy something, you can do it online, but it’s the retail experience that is important to us.

It’s no surprise that this combination of retail and art has seen Alpha60 designs added to the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), as part of the 200 years of Australian fashion exhibition, and led the Clearys to work with institutions such as NGV and MPavilion, and to organize clothing for the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

The thoughtful approach to the retail experience extends to the collection of women’s clothing and accessories. Nothing is trendy, but instead combines functionality and tailoring, using natural fibers – silk, linen, cotton – where possible, with everything, including most fabrics and digital prints, made to order. and designed in-house at their Collingwood studio. Manufacturing takes place in China, in a family-owned factory, with a closed-loop process and limited units.

From their first store in Fitzroy 15 years ago until now, it’s clear that Alpha60 has retained its fiercely independent and highly organized aesthetic while evolving as a brand. And this latest store is a testament to its evolution from the darker, darker “sophisticated quirk” of its previous stores to a chic modern art boutique.

“For us, it’s a shining gem,” says Alex.

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