The Real Cost of Attending New York Fashion Week: Men’s

Since attending the very first New York Fashion Week: Men’s almost 4 seasons ago, I am incredibly blessed to be back for the 5th and current SS18 season. Coming in for the shows, 3-thousand miles away from Los Angeles, is an especially special time for me. I love the frenetic energy of the runway, combined with a well-casted, diverse line up of models in the best and latest apparel from both established and emerging designers. 

But behind all the social media luster and highlights from the front row, I’ve always wanted to shed some light on the real cost of attending and budgeting for such a major fashion event. The reality check starts now: 

Transportation - $228

Ubering around and during NYFWM is the only way that I can maintain my sanity throughout a long exhausting week of appointments, shows and deadlines. But what about my budget? What about the surging fees? What about those potentially exorbitant charges across Manhattan and into other neighboring boroughs? 

Well, Uber's fare splitting is about to be your best riding companion. I had only discovered this recently, on this particular NYFWM trip, because all of my Uber riding buddies were using it. I love how easy it is to split an expensive Uber ride with a bunch of friends. In just a few swipes! All you have to do is input their numbers under your payment method for the ride. The best part? Uber fare-splitting makes any ride into a social event while keeping costs low for a night out.

Flights - $600+ 

I usually try to book my flight at least a month in advance to get the best rates and seats possible. Unless a brand client is offering to pay for my flights, I usually choose between preferred economy or business. For domestic flights, I generally prefer Delta, Virgin America and JetBlue. These major commercial airlines tend to have the best seats at a great value and won’t nickel and dime you when it comes to personal luggage expenses. I also use sites like Skyscanner.com and Airwatchfaredog.com regularly to scour the web for the best roundtrip flight deals. And of course, whenever applicable, sign up for a mileage rewards program with a particular airline or credit card and rack up those points! 

HOTELS - $436*

Hotels are easily the most extravagant expense of any fashion week trip, especially in cosmopolitan locations like New York, Paris, Milan and London. To keep costs relatively reasonable, I shared a Soho hotel suite with a fellow menswear influencer for an entire week. We found a decent 4-star hotel via Hotels.com (another best kept secret!). For the second leg of my trip, as NYFWM is coming to a close, I partnered up with the fabulous The Williamsburg Hotel (the newest property on Wythe Ave) for three additional nights). They generously comped a King Terrace room, so I had time to explore Williamsburg and its surrounding locales at my leisure. The hotel comes highly recommended -- just check out the mesmerizing lobby! 

*I occasionally partner up with hotels that I love to keep lodging costs affordable. Otherwise, this budget item could easily float between $1000-$1500 for a week.

FOOD & BEVERAGE - $450

Food, beverages and personal expenses can greatly vary depending on your spending habits, obviously. Thankfully, during fashion week, brands and clients often extend invitations to cocktail parties and private dinners with plenty of food. This is a fantastic way to network and maintain a healthy budget simultaneously. I cannot stress how food and beverage expenses add up -- I bought three well drinks for $51 at a rooftop bar. Not joking, guys. The struggle is real. Whenever possible, I try to be frugal with breakfast and lunch options — it’s all about the basic necessities. Sometimes a pressed juice is all I need to power through the day and a light meal in between to keep energy levels afloat. Splurge on dinner, because you’ve earned it, and make sure you dine at Cafe Clover at least once. 

Another way to save is by finding hidden gems outside of Manhattan to dine, like House of Small Wonder in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

SHOPPING - $200+ 

I am a recovering shoppaholic. Despite being the impetus as to why MYBELONGING even exists, I am more of a thoughtful shopper these days. I still love the thrill of discovering a new item at my favorite Soho boutiques, but nowadays I shop mostly online. I maintain a small budget only if I find something I’ve been coveting or need in case of emergency, such as underwear, tank tops and basic essentials. I did end up scoring on a pair of Acne Studios sneakers, on sale for $225, before leaving on my trip. 

THE DAMAGE - $1,914

So, in total, I spent just a hair under $2000 for an entire week at NYFWM. It is by no means an inexpensive event to attend, which stresses the need to budget in inventive ways to save where you can. Because Uber has been such a necessity in my travels, I was very fortunate to discover the fare-splitting option to avoid exorbitant fees on frequent trips around Manhattan. Partnering up with a hotel and participating in client dinners also helped to reduce my overall budget. I understand that were some major perks affiliated with my career choice that also helped tremendously. That said, I hope this provides a transparent glimpse into what it truly takes, from a financial standpoint, to even attend NYFWM. 

This story was produced in partnership with Uber. All words and experiences are my own only.