We interrupt our usual blogging schedule today to bring you this week’s HOT Chat a couple of days early. That’s because Stef Dadon and Elise Kausman are launching the Up & Comers Fashion Market this Saturday 15 May, and of course you need to know about it now rather than on Sunday.

RMIT Graduate Stef and Melbourne University student Elise are vintage sellers and fashion lovers and the Up & Comers Fashion Market is their brainchild. They’ve gathered over 30 men’s and women’s clothing and accessories stalls at historic 19th century Art Deco theatre Ormond Hall from 11-5pm tomorrow. Ormond Hall is part of the Belgian Beer Cafe, which means that while you’re browsing the market you can enjoy drinks from the bar inside the hall, sample the full bar menu or grab something from the barbecue or waffle stand in the courtyard.

Stef and Elise have kindly taken the time out from their hectic schedules to answer a few questions for MEL: HOT OR NOT today. Thanks ladies!

Stef and Elise, tell me a bit more about your backgrounds and the Up & Comers Fashion Market?

S: I studied Professional Communication at RMIT, and just graduated last December. I was initially looking to start working with a PR firm or an event management company, but we came up with the concept for the market in January, and suddenly I found myself pretty busy. I’ve since been working almost full time on the market, but hopefully after the opening this week things will slow down a little.

E: At the moment I’m studying Biomedicine at Melbourne University. It can be a bit dry at times, so it’s been great to have the market as a creative outlet.

S: The Up & Comers Fashion Market is all about uniqueness and creativity. It’s a place where you know you can come and find something that you won’t see everyone else wearing.

E: We have found some really talented new designers. It’s also a fun place to go just to hang out with friends – the atmosphere is great and we’ve got live DJs, a bar and food stalls.

How did you select the stallholders and who are some of the designers we can expect to see at the first market?

E: We select stallholders based on their originality, imagination, the quality of their designs and whether they bring something new to the market. We source stallholders from all over Australia and have also received an exciting amount of applications. And by the way, we’re constantly looking for new designers…so if there’s anyone out there looking to kick-start their collection – let us know!

S: There are so many amazing designers that will be selling at the first market. A few names are Mina & Oli, Depths of the Never Never, Harvest Powell, Loré Loré…I’ll stop there before I give too much away.

What challenges have you faced getting the market up and running?

S: One of the biggest challenges we faced was getting people to believe that the market would be a success. In the beginning, designers were sceptical and it was difficult to persuade them to come on board, as all we really had was the general concept.

E: Deciding on a name took forever! We also had to try to find the perfect place – location, size, facilities and ambience are all so important. Personally, the hardest thing for me has been trying to balance organising the market, my sporting commitments and my ridiculous amount of uni work.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

S: It’s always better to be overly professional. When you’re professional people take you more seriously. I’ve found this is so important – even in fashion!

E: If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you can achieve. Over a year ago, all we had was a bunch of ideas and a keen interest in the fashion world. Since then we’ve started up our own vintage label, LadyLikes, and are now launching what we think will be one of the best markets in Melbourne.

What people, places or things do you turn to for fashion inspiration?

S: I travel overseas quite a bit, and I love wandering the streets and having a look at what people are wearing in other parts of the world. I also love looking through my grandmother’s wardrobe – she never throws anything away and has so many incredible pieces from the 60s and 70s.

E: I draw a lot of my inspiration from vintage clothing. I spend hours upon hours in op shops and markets.

What are you wearing at the moment?

S: I have this crazy obsession with skulls at the moment, my most recent purchase is a gold skull ring that has literally been attached to my finger since I bought it. I also love anything that’s oversized, black or vintage.

E: I’m really into layering different pieces to create a more exciting look. My favourite item in my wardrobe right now is a pair of high waisted black, velvet shorts that I bought from a vintage store overseas.

Finally, what are your tips for what’s HOT in Melbourne?

S: One of the many things I love about Melbourne is that there are always new and exciting things to discover. There’s a comedy night on every Monday at The Local (184 Carlisle St, St Kilda +61 3 9537 2633) that I’ve recently discovered and I’ve been going there quite a bit. Some of the comedians are just locals giving it a go, and then you can also see some pretty big names.

In terms of cafes, Batch Espresso (320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava +61 3 9530 3550) is a major favourite (the avocado smash is delicious), I practically live at Nest Food and Drink (117 Wattletree Rd, Malvern +61 3 9500 1221) where they make the BEST bagels and sandwiches, and Monk Bodhi Dharma (202 Carlisle St, Balaclava +61 3 9534 7250) is a great hidden treasure (if you can find it).

E: I love going out for a quiet drink with friends – and Melbourne’s bars don’t disappoint. Madame Brussels in the city is great, and of course Belgian Beer Café on St Kilda Road!

The Up & Comers Fashion Market is on 11-5pm on Saturday 15 March, then every second Saturday of the month. Check it out at Ormond Hal, Belgian Beer Cafe, 557 St Kilda Rd, Prahran (enter via Moubray St). For stall enquiries, contact info@ladylikes.com.au