The Back-Yard Sale: A second-hand stuff party

The Back-Yard Sale in this month's Treasure Hunt

On The Town | Gretchen Gatzke | June 2012

Psyched at 2011’s Back-Yard Sale (Photo: Daniel Pufe)

This time last year, fashion’s entourage of young and old could be found at Pratersauna, gathered around the barbeque and lounging by the pool. One would see vintage polka dot dresses, designer shoes and clunky jewellery scattered around the club-turned-yard-sale for a full day of sun, sangria and a little off-beat shopping.

When Stéphanie Cech’s grandmother left her an apartment full of designer clothes, she felt they were too precious to sell at any old flea market. With her high-school friend Johanna Suryanto, she established the Back-Yard Sale (BYS): An annual market for second-hand items, designer-vintage, samples and young designer fashion. It’s a sale, a pool-party and a concert all in one.

"We make sure that all the stores, boutiques and private sellers create a unique product range," Suryanto explained. "Everybody should be able to satisfy their shopping desires at the Back-Yard Sale."

This year, on 2 June, the four-year anniversary of the event sports the tagline "Best Of". The makeshift stands will offer special items, sample pieces and past collections, by over 20 Austrian and international labels, at sale prices – and give up-and-coming designers a chance to present their work outside the showroom. Private participants also sell their second-hand stuff – seriously, almost anything.

The BYS began in 2009 as a flea market for the duo’s friends. The good music, poolside relaxation and legendary after-party were just an added plus. But the concept caught on. Alongside mainstream media, magazines like PENG! and VICE, and alternative staples like FM4-Radio have become partners. The number of sellers has increased and a new online channel, BYS TV, was created to broadcast labels and performers.

The BYS’s first year hosted approximately 20 sellers and 800 visitors. By 2011, those numbers had grown to 34 sellers and 2,500 shoppers. This year, doors are open to daytime and night-time shoppers.

Over seven DJs are lined up. One, Michael Dürr, a renowned Viennese fashion and celebrity photographer, recently celebrated his 40th birthday at the Albertina. Cech and Suryanto explain that the DJ "service" offers non-shopaholics a chance to enjoy the event.

Big names like American Apparel and Björn Borg, along with other notables, will have surplus pieces for sale at reduced prices. For them, it’s a unique opportunity to sell to BYS clientele.

Still, the backbone of the BYS is the second-hand merchandise – from clothes and handbags, to small furniture items and books, Suryanto stresses that strict quality-inspection is paramount.

Patrons have two options. From 13:00 to 19:00 entry is free and you’ll get DJs and a pool-party. After 22:00, it’s pay-at-the-door. You still get to shop, you still get to party, but you also get access to different stuff and "happy-shopper" reduced entry if you bought things during the day. One of the night-time stands belongs to the young, award-winning Viennese designers Mark & Julia.

So, ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves. Every year this thing grows, and this is a bandwagon you’ll want to get on… Oh, and next time, bring your stuff.


The Back-Yard Sale

2 June, 13:00-19:00, 22:00-1:00


2., Waldsteingartenstraße 135

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