Gotta See It: Derick Melander – Second Hand Clothing Sculpture

3,615 pounds.  Three thousand, six hundred fifteen pounds. That’s how much textile waste is created by New Yorkers every 5 minutes, and that’s where sculptor Derrick Melander steps in.

Grasp by Derrick MelanderCompression by Derrick Melander

Melander takes our tired, old, stained and faded clothing and turns it into art creating yet another way to recycle.  He separates by color (and sometimes gender), folds to exact dimensions and layers the clothing so it stacks perfectly. 

However, he’s not just tossing it all together. There’s a bit of an emotional process involved as well, as with all art. 

From his statement:

“When I come across a dress with a hand-sewn repair, or a coat with a name written inside the collar, the work starts to feel like a collective portrait.”

Back in September, Derrick created a 3,615 pound sculpture (so you can see just how much we waste in a 5 minute period) resulting in a 5×7′ cube.  It was done in one day with the help of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education and was part of the 5th annual Green Brooklyn… Green City Fair.  Check out the video to see more and then consider what you’re doing to help cut down on textile waste, eh?

Into The Fold, Brooklyn Borough Hall from Derick Melander on Vimeo.


  1. Reply
    shari @ little blue deer March 30, 2010

    That’s nuts! I never thought about “textile waste.” Hmmmm, very cool sculpture!

  2. Reply
    Ry March 30, 2010

    Me neither! Can you believe how much? Crazy.

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