How to photograph fit models for posture assessment

When selecting a fit model you want to pay attention to his/her posture and sideways curvature. Small bust size of a model can be changed by adding padding to a bra but ‘bad’ posture is very difficult to change for one, and in the end it will bring more trouble than fitting on a real person is worth. So, make photos, edit and analyse.

Front view: The model stands relaxed in a natural posture with his or her weight spread evenly over two feet. When she/he wears a bikini or swim pants is in fact better for editing than wearing tights and a singlet. The feet are about 20 – 25cm (8 – 10 inches) away from each other; feet may spread, just as long as this is the most natural posture. Arms fall down along the sides, hands are relaxed. The model looks straight ahead. Long hair is tied up, away from the neck. Feet are bare, no shoes with heels.

Side view: Repeat the position of the front view but the model turns 90 degrees.

Back view: Repeat the above position but now you photograph the back.

Camera position: For taking these standard photos the camera can best be placed on a tripod which does not move or change height. The photo’s should be taken:

  • always at the same distance
  • level to the floor
  • in front of a door so the doorposts are visible too
  • at midriff or navel height
  • include the whole body.

After having taken these photos you may edit them as follows:

20150506 WOMAN BALANCE TOTAL WITH LINES

Front view: place a vertical line going through the navel, see how skewed the body is. Place horizontal lines at several points to determine ‘high shoulder’ and ‘high hip’ etc. Please be aware that literally nobody is a 100% balanced. Putting in these lines will inform you how unbalanced the person is, which might be handy when you need to compare people. Also, when you proceed with a model you know upfront what imbalances you need to be aware of.

Side view: place a vertical line from the mid of the ankle up. This line ‘should’ cut the body in half, however…. this is not a perfect world. And perfectly straight posture is rare. If you find a person with perfect posture HANG ON TO THEM!!! It will make your fitting life so much easier. Having said that: you might want to consider that, if perfect posture is so rare, it is very possible that your customers do not have it either. Specifically when your customer base is above the age of 60.

Please note: in the ideal world the circles which are now drawn in the visual middle of the ear, shoulder, body at waist height, knee and ankle will be in one 1 line which is perpendicular to the floor. That is a perfect upright position.

In the photo you see a red line too, this runs from what would be the center of the shoulder head to the middle of the elbow. Ideally this line runs perpendicular to the floor too. Check out my post on shoulder position to read more about his.

Back view: not shown. On the back you might even more clearly see skewness.

Please note: it is not my purpose to make anybody feel bad about their body or looks. It is however in the profession of fashion important to make choices and choosing for a balanced fit model is choosing an average fit which suits most people. Making the right choices comes with judging what type of fit model is helpful for the company and what type not.

Basic tip 3: anybody working in fashion should do this excercise on themselves in order to gain insight in your own body and realise that being skewed and / or out of balance is actually very common.

Hope you enjoyed, you are welcome to leave questions or comments below.

Best regards, Martine

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How to hire a fit model?

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.

20150505 SKINNY MODEL STRAIGHT SHOULDERS

– 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

On tape-measures – 1

Hi there,

I’ve started this new blog to share the fun and expertize I find in puzzling with patterns and the fitting of clothing. And also to inform you of things that might help you produce a better fitted garment, to safe time, money, Fedex costs and environment.

If it is your job to comment on samples, to do fitting, make patterns, specs or garments you might want to bookmark this blog – so you will not miss out any of the tips and tricks that will be published. Also, when you study fashion or garment technology you are very welcome here.

It is my intention to blog about subjects that are important to the whole field of garment technology. I have decided to start of with the basics: very important but often forgotten or not paid attention to because ‘too busy’. I found that not paying attention to certain details in the process actually delays it and will ensure that you either have bad fit or miss deadlines.

So here is Basic tip 1:

I once visited a company where everybody had different types of tape-measures, some were professional, some were dollar-store quality, Some were new, some were old, some were used a lot, some not. Well, exactly like in almost every fashion company. And eventhough the lettering of all tape-measures said they were 150cm in total – at measuring them we found out that several actually had a different length….

No! Not kidding you. Friends of mine in the industry have found exactly the same. The difference might be 1cm but I have found 4cm too.

When checking this one face turned bright red…. ‘This explains why I always argue with my interns about ‘them not measuring the long measurements correctly’. Auch!

So, here is tip one: make sure you have a metal ruler of at least 50cm in your office and check your tape-measure ever so now and then. Chuck the stretched ones, the broken ones, the ones without lettering out. Better: cut them in pieces IMMEDIATELY. 🙂

Drop by in the near future to see what more we bring to the table.

Regards, Martine