Tag Archives: modeling NYC

Interview with a Fit Model: Part Two

Guess who wore it first?

Shop Gotham was thrilled to interview someone who works behind the scenes in the fashion industry:  the fit model.  In case you missed last week’s post, a fit model is a young woman hired by a designer to try on clothes and give feedback as to the fit.  Sound like your dream job?  Even the best jobs have their ups and downs.  Read on…

Shop Gotham (SG): So what’s the worst thing a designer’s ever said to you?

Fit Model (FM): I used to work with a tech designer who very much esteemed himself as the resident fun-sassy-gay-wild card.  One day he said to me, “Turn around, Bessie.”  And then he mooed!   And laughed and laughed at himself.  He was completely oblivious to how incredibly rude that was.   He thought he was hilarious, playful and off-the-cuff. I wanted to smack him, but I just gritted my teeth, smiled, and followed instructions.

SG: What a jerk!  Do they ever say catty things about celebrities?

FM: The worst thing I’ve heard a designer say was probably the time when one was discussing which celebrity to dress for an upcoming awards show. I thought that when a big celebrity wanted to wear a certain designer’s clothes, the designer jumped at the chance. But apparently designers are very particular about who is “representing” their brand. So this particular designer, upon hearing that Sarah Jessica Parker had put in a request to wear a dress by said designer, responded, “Um, ew. She’s, um… Not what she once was. You know. She’s old.” It was very dismissive and harsh.

SG: I don’t suppose you’ll tell us who that was?

FM: Not a chance.

SG: Well if he wants to take his career in that direction, maybe he’ll get to dress young, up-and-coming starlets like Honey Boo Boo.  What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever gotten to wear?

FM: It’s a tie between a couple of things at my most high-end/luxury/couture account.  Google “Jennifer Lawrence Hunger Games premiere.”  I wore that first!  Google “Anne Hathaway Dark Knight Rises premiere.”   That white, draped Grecian gown? Wore that one first too. I also recently fit an incredible red gown with crazy ’30s-meets-futuristic shoulder cut outs that I expect to see on a celebrity any day now. Those few dresses I just mentioned were very rare instances of coming out from behind the changing screen, looking in the mirror, and thinking, ” DAMN I look good.”

Stay tuned for more interviews with a fit model!

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!