In order to fit clothing samples and check the comfort of a garment, apparel companies use dress forms and live fit models. This post covers the process of selecting the correct fit model.
Before you can determine whether a fit model is appropriate for the job you need to have a standard body measurement chart of your requested fit model size. If all is well… your company has one. If not…. it is high time you went into the process of achieving one.
When in the process of hiring a (non professional) fit model make sure to mention the following to the candidates:
– Long standing and quickly changing clothes is required.
– Weight gain or weight loss above 2 kg can disqualify a fit model for the job. Generally a weight change of 4-5 kilo’s (8 to 10 pounds) makes for 1 apparel size difference. There needs to be a commitment to keeping the weight and shape the fit model is hired for. However, as a company you might want to make sure that you do not hire somebody who will get into psychological trouble with this commitment and develop an eating disorder. Which is why I generally opt for older people with a stable weight. Or women who, by daily profession, are used to dealing with body image such as people in sports or people with a medical background. Of course the 2 kg rule does not apply to children and teens that are still growing.
– Determine a BMI that is that of your customers and set a range as to how much a fit model may vary from that. Models with low BMI typically have very straight shoulders which are very wide in comparison to the rest of the body. The woman in the picture below also has breast implants so most likely she will hit the chest circumference of an size 4 or 6 but her shoulders are more built to carry a 8 or 10. When selecting a fit model you want to be looking for an average BMI. Unless your clientele consists of top models there is no reason to choose a person with a low BMI.
– The fit model job is in no way an entry into fashion modelling. A lot of people who do not work in fashion will think fit modelling is an opening. You might, in your add, explicitly want to mention that having a pretty face is not a requirement – but nicer. Nicer is better.
– Minors must be accompanied by a caretaker at least for the interview and the first 3 fittings. You want to make sure a minor feels comfortable at your firm. Do not make any exceptions to this rule; minors can be especially sensitive to comments on their appearance.
– In order to make the selection a little easier, make sure the models already send you the following measurements: bust, under bust, waist, hip at the widest point, upper arm, upper thigh, total length and weight. Make sure to send measuring instructions and a form with it.
– Bring several different heights of heels, warm slippers, a bathrobe, hair elastics or clips, a black panty hose or legging and a body hugging singlet with small shoulder straps to the fitting. Do not wear make-up which can stain on clothing.
– Always wear the same size and model bra with the same type of support. Wear underwear that does not cut into the skin. Generally a normal bikini slip or briefs are ok, as long as you are comfortable with it.
– A fit model needs a thick skin. The function is to fit clothing, in the process of the clothing will be discussed but also how the body of the fit model affects this. It is of course never the objective to be disgraceful towards a fit model but it happens that comments come out wrong. Instead of saying: ‘This skirt length is not suitable for your length.’ somebody might actually say ‘Eeeeeh, this makes your legs look fat!’ A fit model needs to be able to deal with that.
– Inform the fit model upfront that, when he/she is suitable for the job, measurements and photos will be taken. You might want to invite people to bring a friend along for the job interview – just to feel more comfortable. The subject of how to take and photograph will be a next blog post.
– In the first or second interview, take the following body measurements. Mail me at Martine@ztec.nl to receive your own digital Excel copy to adjust to your companies standards. German and Dutch translations are available. Click to enlarge.
Based on your standard measurement chart you will have to choose what model is closest to your ideal. Check out my post on ‘How to photograph fit models for assesment’ to decide between possible fit models. Take your evaluation of the posture assessment into account too.
Generally I think that placing vacancies at fashion schools, sport schools are the best way to go about if you like to select a non-professional fitting model. Or you can look to combine e.g. an office assistant or janitor job with a fit model job. Professional fit models can be hired from modelling agencies. However, rates as high as mentioned in this article are not common in The Netherlands.
I hope you enjoyed this post, you are welcome to leave questions or comments below.
Best regards, Martine