This Artist Is Giving Away His $500K Designer Wardrobe To The Public Tonight (Seriously)

Photo: Courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York.
Now, here's a highly unexpected, very intriguing addition to the typical NYFW grind of back-to-back shows and presentations. Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard is giving away $500,000 worth of his own designer wardrobe to the public in NYC tonight. Yes, you read that correctly. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., groups of 100 people will get to fill "designer" garbage bags, branded with Melgaard's name, with clothing from luxury and streetwear brands, in 15-minute intervals. After each group's time slot is up, they will be "immediately evacuated" from the space.

The awesomely ridiculous event (performance art piece, basically) will take place at the Red Bull Arts New York space in Chelsea, located at 220 West 18th Street. It should be familiar real estate for the fashion crowd: It used to house Barneys New York's (slightly more wallet-friendly) Co-Op store, as well as the department store's infamous Warehouse sales.

Melgaard's absurd wardrobe purge, which is comprised of approximately 40 racks of clothing, has been in the works for about a year. "I guess it’s a commentary on how everything just becomes a dysfunctional recycling of old ideas," Melgaard told Refinery29 of the event's significance. "Sometimes you gotta just get all the old stuff out of the way."

The giveaway includes men's and women's pieces that were owned by Melgaard as well as artist and fashion stylist Avena Gallagher, from luxury heavyweights like Comme des Garçon, Yohji Yamamoto, Lanvin, Maison Martin Margiela, Issey Miyake, and Raf Simons. You can also root around for threads by streetwear names like Supreme and Stussy; there will also be items on offer from indie names like Eckhaus Latta and Telfar.

Also in the mix: over 100 pieces from Melgaard's own eponymous streetwear label, which is making its debut at his epic closet clean-out. The pieces wil become available later this year, and will include sayings "Your Loans, Your Problems, and "The more you pay, the less they care." Prices will range from $50 to $500, per WWD.

After today's massive designer fashion free-for-all, the Red Bull Arts New York space will be transformed into an exhibition of Melgaard's ongoing project, "The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment," which runs from February 16 to April 9. What to expect? A "derelict department store" dubbed Melgaard's New York, which will be filled with an "army of genetically enhanced mannequins" donning looks designed by Melgaard (in tandem with Gallagher). The faux department store will also feature the U.S. debut of Melgaard's jewelry collaboration with Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen. So, if you can't make it for tonight's luxury clothing bonanza, you can still "shop" Melgaard's sure-to-be fascinating send-up of the retail industry.

But back to the more pressing matter at hand: that insane designer clothing purge. It should go without saying that if you're in the New York metropolitan area, you just might want to concoct your excuse for ducking out of work early (or push that Valentine's Day dinner back slightly). After all, how often does the prospect of a completely gratis designer garbage bag stuffed with designer duds factor into your evening plans?
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