A look at local clothing line Alpha60

Melbourne based label, Alpha60, emulates the best of Melbourne urban culture, local artists, and retro style in their quirky, yet sophisticated clothing line.

Brother-Sister duo Alex and Georgie, the visionaries behind Alpha60, launched their line in 2005. In the 12 years since, it has emerged into a label known for its unique style and themed colour scheme each season.

Meg Dunn, a retail assistant currently working at the Alpha60 men’s concept in store in Fitzroy fell in love with the brand that suits all ages and wears the line herself.

“What I love about this line is that it incorporates Melbourne style as well as designs from local artists.”

“I am the oldest member but I love it here,” she said.

The line at Alpha60 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Photo: Zathia Bazeer

Alpha60 aims for minimalism and sophistication with a hint of quirk, and rather than following trends they intend to set them.

Susan Bag, who has been working with the brand for five years wears the pieces to experiment with style and step out of her comfort zone.

“When I lived in London [Alpa60] was one brand I missed shopping at. The brand is style based not trend based and is particular to Melbourne.”

The brand is in its 13th year, with an Alpha60 concept store, which incorporates minimalist and monochrome pieces, opening last year in support of St Paul Cathedral.

The brand is known for its suitability for all ages and sizes, and its gender neutral pieces, which have been part of its signature style long before Vogue’s gender fluid cover with Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik.

“There is something for everyone, [it] isn’t very girly or very androgynous,” said Susan.

In addition to a successful line and strong following, Alpha60 has had successful solo shows at Australian Fashion Week and Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. The brand has showroom’s in both Paris and New York and is a two-time finalist of the  Tiffany and Co. Designer Award.

With an outfit displayed in the National Gallery of Victoria’s 200 Years of Australian Fashion Exhibition in 2016, Alpha60 is making a notable mark internationally and at home in Australia.

Written by Zathia Bazeer. 

Yarra, Moreland and Darebin unite to help give young entrepreneurs a go

Do you ever feel attacked by the media for being a part of a generation of self-centred narcissists who spend too much money on smashed avo and not enough on a housing deposit? Kate Rizzo, youth development officer for the Yarra council and leader of the Young Entrepreneurs in the North program, thinks this assessment of young people couldn’t be further from the truth.

Rizzo, 27, has a degree in Psychology and Social work, runs her own social enterprise and has a passion for working with what she says is one of the most misrepresented demographics: youth.

Kate Rizzo (centre) with last years Young Entrepreneurs. Photo: Juan Castro.

Since being developed by a colleague of Rizzo’s in conjunction with the Yarra council in 2014, Entrepreneurs in the North has since expanded to the cities of Moreland and Darebin under Rizzo’s leadership, beginning in 2015.

Rizzo said the aim of the program is to “support young people in business develop an idea,” by running weekly workshops with guest speakers, and providing mentors for participants. With 18 young people from the City of Yarra currently receiving mentorship as part of the program, Rizzo said that about 80 per cent of participants are of African heritage, and are inspired to develop many of their business ideas specifically for the African community.

Rizzo gave an example of two young Somalian women called Fatima and Huda who are creating a “safe space” for Somalian women to discuss traditionally taboo subjects like sex and relationships. The young women told Rizzo that many African women are discouraged from talking about sex and relationships among family and peers, making this project especially beneficial for these women.

Young entrepreneur Nyonno Bel-Air is a success story from last year’s intake. Bel-Air, pictured above, discovered a gap in the cosmetics market for people with tan to dark skin tones, so she used the program to help create the highly successful brand, Kleur Cosmetics, which specialises in formulating shades for skin with high levels of melanin. The brand already has a following of almost one and a half thousand on Instagram, and is definitely a space to watch.

Kleur Cosmetics latest foundation. Photo: Instagram.

Rizzo said that Young Entrepreneurs in the North was developed after seeing a lack of employment opportunities for youth. It has since received funding from the Yarra and Moreland council’s youth services and economic development units.

The workshops are run weekly on a Tuesday night by the Roshambo Group, who, according to their website are “founders, investors and advisors, working with … individuals, teams, departments, and businesses to efficiently and effectively deliver the critical 21st-century adaptability [to business].”

Rizzo said that the young people in the program are working to “modern models of business” rather than the old school, and are using state-of-the-art technology and strategies to make sure their businesses get off the ground in the right direction.

So, if you’re a young person who resides in the City of Yarra, Darebin or Moreland and have a great business idea, email kate.rizzo@yarracity.vic.gov.au or phone 9426 1455 to sign up for this awesome program to kick-start your career and prove to the media and your parents that young people aren’t just self-absorbed avo-eating dreamers with no realistic goals.

Watch last year’s video by Moreland City Council to find out more:

Written by Caitlin Matticoli

Youthful perspectives: Capture Yarra Photography Competition

It’s remarkable just how much our perspective changes each year. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but it is forever changing, moving and growing.

The Yarra community we know and love is full of diversity; in race & religion, education, and age. How we see Yarra is unique to each and every one of us.

In conjunction with Yarra Youth Services, the Yarra Libraries held a ‘Capture Yarra Photo Competition’ for youth residing in the Yarra and library members.

Participants aged between 12 and 18 were encouraged to capture Yarra as they saw it.

Emma White, the youth services librarian at Yarra Libraries, told YR that the aim was to ‘provide an insight into the world of our young Yarra residents. Participants were given the brief to capture what they thought was the true essence of Yarra. This collection of images is a poignant and honest exploration of their experiences.’

The winners, chosen by a panel of judges, were Ella Cox, age 13, with her photograph titled ‘The Bus Stop Lounge Room’, Lillian Gutteridge, age 15, with her photograph ‘Evening Light’, and Poppy Ward, age 12, with her photograph ‘Tram Gateway’.

Ella Cox The Bus Stop Lounge Room
Photographer Ella Cox, The Bus Stop Lounge Room


Lillian Gutteridge Evening Light
Photographer Lillian Gutteridge ‘Evening Light’
Photographer Poppy Ward, ‘Tram Gateway’

‘I feel very excited [to be nominated]!’ Poppy ward told YR via email.

Twelve-year-old Poppy’s interest in the photography competition sparked after she participated in a photography workshop held in the Carlton Library, but she has always had a keen interest in the craft.

Understanding the perspective of youth while facilitating avenues of creative expression is just one aspect of community engagement we see here in the Yarra.

Most importantly it gives youth a chance to tell their stories, their way, and promote the confidence, independence and creativity of the future of Australia.

The Telling Tree: A reading by LGBTIAQ+ Youth

The ‘safe schools’ debate has raged through the media in the last few weeks.

At times like these, it’s easy to be blind sided by political op ed’s and vocal public figures. We tend to forget to listen to the voices of those affected by the very thing we are debating.

Last week, popular LGBTIAQ+ book store, Hares and Hyennas, held a reading for The Telling Tree, a storybook project created by members of the LGBTIAQ+ youth community. The Telling Tree, a collaboration between Yarra Youth Services, Drummond Street Relationship Services,  Minus18 and The Ownership Project, features Kai Hart, a teen who identifies as agender, aromantic and asexual.

[The Telling Tree] is about getting out what we wanted to say and having an opportunity to make sure we are acknowledged,” Says Kai.

“We participated in workshops where we discussed things like, how did you discover your identity, what sort of explorations did you do, what sort of reactions have you experienced. It’s about Drawing from our own experience from growing up queer.”

Exposing cisgender and heterosexual teenagers to the LGBTIAQ+ community is simply a way to promote inclusion, shatter stereo types and open dialogues in the community.

“When people know who we are… it means [a person] can say ‘look these are real people in my community who are dealing with these real things, I should probably respect them more.'”

The Telling Tree is a compilation of 10 short pieces by various LGBTIAQ+ youth. From descriptions of terminolgy to recounts of real events, every word is written with knowledge beyond its years.

Living in an environment that challenges your right to existence is both physically and mentally challenging. It affects the individuals, families and friends, and can often cause conflict in relationship dynamics.

“My parents are super supportive, but they have trouble with [aspects of] it. They do have a little bit more trouble with my gender identity… I think it’s a thing that a lot of parents do, which is ‘Oh you’re my baby girl’, and ‘I want to call you your [real] name’ and ‘it’s so hard for me to remember.’ I’m still your child, i’m just not your daughter.” they say.

Acknowledgement ignites the process of acceptance. For Kai, changing her name was a step toward feeling more at ease in their body.

“At one point, my mum was like, ‘I named you, you’re under my roof.’ But as recently as last week, she said, ‘you know its your name and I acknowledge that that is you, but I do so much and i’m so busy and it’s hard for me to remember a whole new name to call you’, so she is softening.”

“I do struggle with it. A few days ago i sent off my official name change form, so i had to subtly ask my parents where [my birth certificate] was. I have this fear of what they will do, when they see my new birth certificate with my [new] name on it. It’s something that can make me really anxious and contributes to these feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness that I feel.”

By accepting one’s right to choose their name, pronouns, gender identity and sexual preference you’re leading by example. It’s the small changes that make a big collective difference to kids growing up Queer.



The Telling Tree: Kai

I am aromantic, asexual and agender. This means i am affectionately called ‘triple A’. It’s common in the depths of Tumblr. ‘A’ is one of the few prefixes that is used for orientation (which include romantic, sexual, platonic, sensual, alterous and aesthetic) <em>and</em> gender identities, and ‘triple pan’ and ‘triple bi’ aren’t puns (unless you make them so, send m an ask on Tumblr with your punz pls).

Considering how flighty and artist-y I am, it might be weird to also find out I am obsessed with the technical, which is why I will expand on my identity for you. Saying I’m aro’, ace and agender is not enough to capture all that I am and that is obvious, of course. You could know that i’m also a singer, a writer and a waitrex, but what I mean is I collect as many words that describe  disparate parts of who I am and to be honest this sometimes makes it burdensome to be so queer.

I am also quoiromantic, and lithromantic, and alloplatonic, allosensual, bialterous, trans and nonbinary, and use they pronouns.

The thing about these words is that they mean  different things to different people. What a community does is roughly homogenise these meanings and eventually spawn new words and new groups because people find other people in much more meaningful ways.

Take for example bisexualtity. Within the queer (LGBTIAQ+) community, there are lots of meanings people have for bisexuality. Some people have stopped using it altogether in favour if terms like pansexuality, polysexuality and plain old queer. Multiple gender attracted (MGA) is also used as an umbrella term.

However! here are also words that people have created that can be super contentious. I am personally against using words like sapiosexual because it can mask or outright expose an ableist attitude and can group together a lot of experiences that can resemble bisexuality, pansexuality and asexual spectrum identities, which have many sub-identities or related identities that are just as useful and a lot less problematic.

This does not mean that I want to infringe on the rights of people to self-identify. In fact, as someone who is as far outside any binary as I am, I know how liberating it can feel to find that there are still words and meanings and community out in this lovely void.

By Kai Hart