Fashion, Trends

New Yorkers are in their bag: why men are trading backpacks for totes

You rocking the tote?

words by: Jacob Consenstein
Feb 3, 2020

Women have purses, men have… pockets? Light-weight, practical, and considerably more stylish than a backpack – the tote bag is the modern man’s answer to the age old question: where do I put all my shit?

Photographer Jacob Consenstein walked around New York City to investigate the trend for ULTRA.




Timothy has different bags for different occasions and fits. He says a backpack and tote serve the same purpose – that’s why he owns at least 10 of them.




In his bag? A portable charger and a bunch of Splenda. Ryan figures that it’s hard to get things out of backpacks, so the convenience of the tote makes sense. 




Nate started rocking this bag after he moved to New York City, because everywhere else, boys “get clowned” for wearing totes. In the city, it’s accepted. Also backpacks are too sweaty during the summer, he says. 




Lucas started using a tote bag in 2017. Manual, the brand he works for, makes them so he always has several on hand. 




They look cooler than backpacks and offer more room for photo equipment, says Kevin, whose first tote was by Golf Wang. This tote carries a film camera and camcorder.




Bennino’s tote holds a charger and the book he’s currently reading. He admits he still owns a backpack, but never uses it because they’re very “early 2000s.” 




A new convert, Rogelio only began using the bag in question when he moved to New York a year and a half ago. He says it’s Fjällräven or bust, though, if you still opt for backpacks.




Tote bags usually look nicer with his outfits, says Ahmed. Two things that are in his at any given time are house keys and a pen.


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