The Fashion Week frenzy is bringing a pretty penny to New York's economy.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that the semiannual Lincoln Center extravaganza is expected to pump a record $865 million into the city's economy in 2012, up from an estimated $773 million in 2007.
Of the total this year, direct visitor spending in local hotels, restaurants and stores will generate $532 million, according to the NYC Economic Development Corp. This winter's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week ends Thursday, although the twice-yearly event typically attracts more than 232,000 attendees, officials said.
"We are the fashion capital of the world," Bloomberg declared at the Fashion Incubator, a designers' office space in midtown.
He added that the city's fashion industry employs 173,000 people and generates nearly $10 billion in wages.
New York is supporting several initiatives to keep the fashion industry flourishing and ensure certain jobs can be kept locally instead of going overseas, officials said. They include the launch of the Fashion Incubator in 2010 that offers below-market rentals in midtown to new designers and a mini-MBA program through the Fashion Institute of Technology that begins this summer.
Officials on Monday also expressed interest in creating a "Made in New York" label that would add cache to designers' lines.
Joining the mayor was designer Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and advocate of the city's Garment District, which has seen manufacturing jobs cut in half in the past 15 years.
When asked what fashion advice she had for Hizzoner, von Furstenberg blurted, "He's so hot, he doesn't need any."