Alannah Hill was just 16 years old when she packed up her life in coastal Tasmania for the big smoke of Melbourne. Armed with eight suitcases full of costumes and haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!’ Alannah was determined to make something of herself – and that she did.
Over the next few decades, Alannah grew to be one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, creating a fashion empire that defied trends and achieved huge growth – both domestically and internationally. On the outside, Alannah appeared to ‘have it all,’ but what many people never knew what that behind the vibrant and quirky face of fashion, was a woman who had experienced years of hardship, fear and abuse.
In 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand – a brand she described as ‘her heart and her soul’. It was a departure that left her coming apart at the seams and she slowly came to understand the only way she could move forward was to go back.
In her recently published memoir, Butterfly on a Pin, Alannah tells a story of love, despair and reinvention – and how a little girl who grew up in a milk bar in Tasmania went after an impossible dream and achieve success despite the many, many obstacles stacked against her.
We’d love for you to join us for breakfast as we welcome Alannah to the Business Chicks stage as she’ll delve into the stories behind the glamour, how she built one of Australia’s most iconic fashion brands and has she picked herself up when it all fell apart.