“How much does a fit model cost? Is that for one hour only? I really can’t afford that. Can we just fit on me? I can use my friend, he/she is the right size…”
This is a common response from emerging designers when discussing the fittings.
The main misconception about fit models is due to the fact that they are called models. Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between a runway model (which is what we normally associate models with) and a fit model.
Here is a brief explanation to better understand the difference between a fit model and runway model’s job descriptions:
- Runway models – They represent the “face” of the brand. They display the product and the look of the brand and their job is to make it look the best! Therefore their look is the most important part. Clothes don’t necessarily need to fit them perfectly (a good stylist and some alternations will take care of that), the clothes just need to look great on them. A great runway model knows how to pose in order to make the product looks its best.
- Fit Model – They represent the “fit” of the brand. They are the ones to express what it feels like wearing the product and are responsible to communicate fit and comfort issues (especially ones that are not visible from the outside). Therefore, they are required to have a well-proportioned body and the ability to give valuable feedback regarding the fit and feel of the garment, fabrication etc. A great fit model understands what a garment should fit and feel like and recognize when parts of it don’t (short rise, tight armholes, etc.).
After working with professional fit models for years, I can tell you that experienced fit models understand fit so well they can feel when a spec is off by ¼”. Even if they have never made a pattern themselves they can tell the pattern maker what parts of the pattern should be adjusted and how to do it. On the other hand when you fit on a friend or family member, even though they might be the right size and well propositioned their feedback might be biased. First of all they don’t know what to look for specifically and second of all they care for you personally and may be shy to honestly admit it doesn’t fit well.
While a supermodel can make your product look great, at the end of the day the main purpose of a fashion brand is to make sure your product fits and feels great on your target customer.
The role of a fit model can become an essential asset equal to having a good pattern maker!
A professional fit model will cost anywhere from $200 (+ agency fee) and up for an hour, which when operating on a shoestring budget seems like a fortune, but the return on investment is far greater. An ill fitted garment will kill a sale while a good fit will make your customer wanting more!