‘Life’s too short’: From corporate high flyer to designer
Brisbane's Sallyanne Astill had spent 25 years climbing the corporate ladder to achieve a high-paying job in computer science.
Despite previously believing she was "too old to change", she decided to trade it all in at 54 to pursue the career in fashion design that she'd dreamt of since she was a child.
"I think you get to a stage in life when you think, 'I don't really care'. You realise you do want to follow your passion," said Astill, who worked in software engineering and has a masters degree from the University of Queensland.
"I think you get to a stage in life when you think, 'I don't really care'. You realise you do want to follow your passion."
"I'd been working in very technical roles and then leaderships roles, moving up the corporate ladder, dealing more with politics … and the politics got me down in the end.
"It was well paid, but I wasn't really enjoying it. I had a hiatus one day, I must have had a bad day at work, and I decided to throw it in. I thought, 'Life is too short'."
She took a six month sabbatical to consider her options and, despite her scepticism about being a mature age student, she studied a fashion degree at Torrens University and successfully launched her own French-inspired fashion label, Astille, 18 months ago.
On Thursday night the emerging designer - who is now 60 and a grandmother to a nine-month-old baby boy - launched her third collection, Casablanca, inspired by the classic 1942 film, at Dutch Courage gin bar in Fortitude Valley.
She also featured in the Resort Finale show during the recent Brisbane Fashion Month.
"I love it and I'm happy," she said. "As a little girl I was a kid drawing dresses and dressing my Barbie dolls. It's always what I wanted to do.
"I still feel there's a lot of time left. It was a scary decision (to change careers) but I have a supportive family and a lot of encouragement."
Astille is manufactured in Australia with luxury fabrics, with a focus on high-end investment pieces that will last in women's wardrobes.
"I'm passionate about what I do," Astill said.
"I just love designing clothes for women and making them look lovely, putting that dress on and making them feel like a million dollars."
Originally published as 'Life's too short': From corporate high flyer to designer at 54