There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Friday, April 6, 2007

Fit Modeling

One great way to make good money and not have to worry about having "model looks" is fit modeling. The key to this type of modeling involves your size. Clothing manufacturers don't use supermodels to fit the garments on--that's all for the runway!

When it comes to everyday clothing lines such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, GAP and many others, they need real bodies to put their designs on. Fit models act as the real life dummy (no pun intended) who showcases the latest styles and threads in front of the company's head honchos and focus groups to see if they approve of the material, cut, style, colors and other tedious factors. There are both male and female fit models. What does that mean exactly?

A fit model reporting for duty will arrive at the client's office, where they'll be taken to a room filled with different garments. Their contact person at the company will assign the fit model a number of outfits to try on. For each outfit tried on, the fit model will walk out and stand in front of either one or more people, who look over the fit, style and size. They then discuss amongst themselves if changes need to be made, offer suggestions or approve the garments worn.

During this time the model just stands there and may be instructed to turn around, sit down, walk and/or perform other actions to show how the clothing looks on a moving figure. The model is essentially a live mannequin that makes it easier for the designers to see exactly how their fabrics fit on a real person.

The process is then repeated, with the fit model changing in and out of the designated outfits and showing how they fit to the designers. After the last outfit has been shown, the job is done and the fit model is free to go.

When it comes to fit modeling, they don't care about bone structure or how you'll photograph. Fit modeling is all about your height and measurements. But that's not to say that they'll only accept one body type or measurements. Clothing manufacturers and designers need to make clothes that fit all people from children, to teens and adults so there are usually specific sizes that these companies will request. If you fit, you're in! Most companies state that potential fit models should be either exactly the measurements/sizes they have listed in the casting call or at least within a half inch (larger or smaller).

To better illustrate this concept, below is info from actual casting calls for fit models:


We are a clothing manufacturer in the East Bay, and we are looking for a Men's fit model. Work is generally during the day, about 1 hour, once or twice a month (FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE).

Requirements: Be within 1/2" (plus or minus) of measurements we need, stable weight, arrive to all appointments on time.

Measurements we need:

Height: 5'10"-5'11 1/2"
Chest: 44"
Waist: 38" (can be smaller)
Hip: 44"
Inseam (to floor): 33"
Shirt Size: Large or 16 1/2 -- 17; 36-37


Height: 5'5"- 5'7"
Chest: 47" (around the bust area just across nipples)
Waist: 39" (around the mid section just above the navel)
Low Hip: 49" (around the largest part of the bottom)
Age: 18-50 

As you can see, the measurements for the female fit model are much larger than your traditional 0-2 dress size, 34-24-34 standard. That's the beauty of fit modeling: clothing manufacturers make garments for a variety of sizes, including plus sizes, which means this type of modeling can be open to a much larger pool of people, compared to fashion, runway, editorial and even print modeling requirements.

Companies post their casting calls differently. Some may be more detailed, while others might just list the dress size, height and age they need. As long as you provide the exact information each casting all asks for, you'll be fine. BTW: if you don't know certain measurements DO NOT GUESS WHEN SUBMITTING YOUR INFORMATION! Play it safe by getting your measurements done professionally by a tailor or seamstress and then submitting to the casting once you have those numbers.

While this type of modeling is less glamorous and doesn't involve getting your pictures taken professionally, it can become a stable gig and many of these companies pay as much as $125/hour. Many fit models get used often by companies and can even be hired on as a permanent position. The average frequency a fit model can expect to work once they find a company that likes them is 1-2 days a week or as needed. Some fit models only work 1-2 times a month. The duration and frequency depend solely on the actual company, how often they manufacture new garments, etc.

The main thing a fit model needs to keep in mind, however, is that you must maintain your weight and measurements at all times. If you gain an inch or two to your frame, that could automatically put you out of the running. But don't feel like you need to starve yourself or do anything crucial. Fit modeling jobs are so common that you can even find this position advertised in newspapers.

Fit modeling can be a great side gig with the potential to make a great income and is nothing to be looked down upon. If you haven't had any luck signing with an agency or want to start off slow, fit modeling will always have a place for both girls and guys of every shape and size--don't forget, these companies need plus-size and petite models, too!


Anonymous said...

First of all, I can't say how much I appreciate your posts!

You have so much comprehensive and understandable information about modeling. I really did learn a lot about modeling from your blog.

Keep it up! I'm sure more people will catch up and start reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post but I must ask-how does one become a fit model?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous #2! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #333." Thanks for reading!