Tag Archives: fit model

Interview with a Fit Model, Continued

Shop Gotham has had the pleasure of speaking with a fit model here in NYC.  A fit model is someone who tries on designer clothes before they hit the stores.  Like every other job, it has its highs and lows.

Shop Gotham (SG): What bugs you most about your job?

Fit Model (FM): What bugs me most about the job might be that everyone assumes I’m dumb because I’m a model. Some people can get a little condescending because of that, and that’s the most infuriating thing in the world to me. Also long fittings- we’re talking 6 to 7 hour fittings- are pretty brutal because you’re just standing there, in four inch heels, for sooooo long. Your feet & body get achy, and if you’re working with a team that doesn’t ask for a lot of input, it gets HELLA boring. But you just have to suck it up, let your mind wander, and think of the dollar signs.

SG: Which brings us to the next question.  What’s the pay scale like?

FM: At my most high-paying account, my take after my fit model agent’s commission is roughly $200.

SG: Per hour?

FM: Yup.

SG: Did you come to New York to be a model?

FM: No, I came here to be an actor.   So for an actor, it’s a godsend of a day job. And for the most part, it’s pretty flexible, usually just a few hours a day.

SG: Is it fairly consistent?

FM: Right now I happen to be in the midst of a solid month of 9-5 work, which is extremely rare for a part-timer, and that amount of hours is really difficult. But I’m going to make a quarter of my last year’s income in a month, and it’s hard to say no to that.

SG: Well, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us.  It’s been very interesting!

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Interview With a Fit Model

Fit model?  What’s a fit model?

Have you ever found yourself frustrated in a dressing room, thinking, “Who actually fits into this stuff?”  Or have you ever tried on a dress that fit you so perfectly it seemed to have been made for you?  Well, today we’re going to fill you in on a fashion industry secret:  the fit model.  Designers hire young women of “real people” proportions– which usually means a size six– to test the fit of certain garments before they’re released to the retailers.   We got one young lady to dish to SG about the ins and outs of this niche job– anonymously, of course.  Who knows?  You might run into her on a Shop Gotham Garment Center tour…

Shop Gotham (SG): So what exactly does a fit model do?

Fit Model (FM): A fit model is basically a walking, talking mannequin who can give feedback about the fit of a garment to the technical designers, whose job it  is to make clothing fit as perfectly as possible. It means my measurements happen to be “industry standard,” so my proportions are the ones used when clothing goes from being a sketch to becoming a physical garment. I try on clothes all day, and call out how something doesn’t feel right or how it does feel right.  The tech designers try to reconcile those critiques with the list of “specs” (their list of  industry-standard measurements) that they have to folllow to keep everything consistent.

SG: You mention an industry standard, but sometimes a woman will be one size in one store and a different size in another.  Why is that?

FM: I’m a size 6 at all of my accounts. Every brand is different though!  I’ve been on go-sees (fit model auditions, basically) where I’m much too small or much too big for their size 6. Some places want models with a larger bust, or a particularly curvy midsection, etc. It depends on “who their customer is”- so a brand that caters towards middle aged women, for instance, won’t use a model who may meet the industry standard measurements, but her weight distribution gives her the overall shape of a woman in her early 20s. It all sounds very arbitrary but if there’s one thing that “fashion people” are, it’s picky!

SG: Do you ever have to do anything to manipulate your measurements?

FM: At one account, I wear padded bra inserts; at another, I literally used to wear a stick-on butt pad to make my low hip measurement 1/2″ bigger.

SG: Wow!  With so much emphasis on your measurements, do you have to be really careful about what you eat?

FM: At the risk of making everyone hate me, I have to work remarkably little to maintain my body the way the job requires it to be.  I can work out like crazy and watch everything I eat, or not go to the gym for weeks and eat whatever I want and I stay the same.

SG: Ooh, I do hate you a little bit.  What would happen if you weren’t so lucky?

FM: I at least have to stay “within tolerance,” which is about a quarter of an inch. I’ve been running a lot lately to prepare for an upcoming race, which I told my agents and they promptly re-measured me.  They like to stay on top of how/if our measurements change. I feel bad for girls who fluctuate a lot because that often leads to losing a job… but another one that your body is right for is usually right around the corner. I lost a little bit here and there, but not enough for my accounts to notice yet, fortunately.  So [my agents]  told me to start drinking something carbonated before my appointments so I’d “puff up” a little!  But then of course there’s those days when you’re a wee bit bloated or some such, and you just suck in your gut and hope the hour goes by quickly!

Stay tuned for more interviews with our anonymous fit model on www.shopgotham.com!