Full Time professional fit model Erica answers some FAQ’s about fit modeling.
First, can you explain a bit about what a fit model is?
The way I describe a fit model to most people who ask is, basically I am a live mannequin. I try on clothes prior to the production of the garment and also during their development of the clothing line for each season. This helps the company’s design and technical team see the fit and the flow of the material on an actual body posing as a customer to get an idea of how they would like the final product to look. This is key for designers, unlike a body/tailor form ,the fit model gives very valuable feedback about over all fit, nature of fabric, and if riding up, etc. A fit model is a female/male with a well proportioned body with industry standard measurements.
2. For the many people who believe the fashion industry bases clothing sizing and fit off of the size zero runway models, what do you have to say? And what are your measurements?
It’s so funny when I hear about most opinions about what a model should look like, or how most models need to be a “size zero”. In this industry it is much different. An ideal fit model usually fits for a size 4-6/ 5-7/ 27-28 in jeans. I fit for a size 27 jeans, size 5/ 7 junior or 4/6 contemporary depending on brand. My height is 5’7″ and I weigh 124lbs. My measurements are 34 1/2″ bust, 26.5″ waist, 37″ hip. (Many fit models average around a size 6 for women, as this is the average size for most clothing brands that carry size 0-12. In the Los Angeles Market there are many denim brands that will fit possibly a size 26 for samples ( for buyers to see line smaller in samples are more attractive to the eye). Then for production the companies fit 27-28 since this is the average of sizes 23-32. Additionally, there are mens, childrens, teen, plus size, and even maternity fit models.) For males the average size fit model is a 32 medium.
3. How did you get into fit modeling
I actually started my career as a Fashion Designer. I went to FIDM, learned everything from designing, technical, pattern making, to construction of a garment. Being in the field for 4 years, I then began freelancing and at same time joined agency to start some fit modeling ( as I would cross fit at companies I worked at)…little did I know fit modeling took over as I was booking every go see I went on. That is when my new job began. Now for past 8 years I have been fit modeling full time. I couldn’t be more blessed than I am to work with such amazing companies and great people!!
4. Give us an idea of what your average day is like.
I have a pretty set a schedule, although some days I have some space to fill in for accounts that don’t fit on set time a week. An average day for me usually starts at 845am. Although I have some accounts I will start as early as 715am ( got to fit it all in). I don’t usually work much past 530pm. Although who’s ever willing and needs to, I work at anytime. (I have even fit at designers home, my home, and weekends… Though not being typical). Most my days are back to back and I allow only time for driving. Each company varies, but a fit model is booked on an hour minimum. Though some companies will fit 3 hrs at a time. Throughout the design process many changes will be made to the garment. A fit model will often get called back several times to fit the same garment as we make adjustments to it, this will continue until we are happy that we have achieved the perfect fit for our customer.
5. You work mostly with the technical design department in companies, how do you feel you are treated and do you feel there are ways to make the relationship more productive and successful?
I feel with all my relationships in my career that my opinion is highly respected and very valued. My clients listen to what I have to say about the garment and use it to their best advantage to try and reach what the customer is looking for through my thoughts, and feedback. With my technical background and design experience I am able to provide more detailed feedback and comment on those little details that make all the difference. Finding the right fit model is always a challenge. Maybe your customer is smaller and shorter than average, or maybe she is curvier, perhaps she is a tad younger and smaller in the chest and narrower in the hips and more straight. The company should know who their customers are. Most important and valuable about a good fit model is being consistent, professional, on time, and take your job as serious as it is. A fit model should always know what brand they are working for ( meaning who they are, what they are known for, who buys their line, etc). Knowing this makes you understand how things should look and fit. To keep your career and relationships going always respectful and professional and in spec.
6. What is the best thing about being a fit model?
Best thing about being a fit model,( besides the pay check)Is knowing you are part of the success of the company. That alone makes me happy. A few added perks are being able to buy at employee discount or especially lucky when clients gift you production pieces. Also seeing the new trends and styles before the public do, then a few months later seeing what you fit for in a store. I am very particular about how garments fit me and knowing I will always be able to find the Perfect Fit is quite amazing. Since my fit is the industry standard too, I luckily find it easier to buy other clothing lines too.