When aspiring models start to get into the industry, many are unaware of all the different types of modeling they can do aside from the mainstream commercial and fashion modeling. In several other posts, I have detailed the various genres within the modeling industry. In this post, I’ll explain what a fit model (not to be confused with the ‘fitness’ model!) is and how their role is essential in the fashion industry.
When most people hear the term “fit model”, they naturally think of “fitness” models, but the two are not alike at all. A fitness model is one that models things like fitness/health supplements and fitness equipment and are often used in gym membership commercials. Fitness models also often compete in competitions where they are judged on their physique. A fit model, on the other hand, has a behind-the-scenes role in the industry and is a key part of the clothing design process.
If you’re outside or new to the fashion industry, you are most likely unaware of the process involved with designing and producing clothing and the role models play in that process. Most garments start out being designed on paper or a computer and eventually get transferred to a mannequin, but to see how a garment will fit and move on a real person, it needs to be fit to one. Here is where the fit model comes in. A fit model will don an article of clothing and stand for the design team while they evaluate the fit and movement and then adjust the garments as needed. This step in the design process is crucial because designers need to know if their creations can translate from concept to mass production. In addition, fit models are often asked for feedback on how the garment fits and feels on their bodies to aid the team’s design adjustments.
Just as other genres of modeling have requirements on things like size and height, fit modeling is no different. However, there isn’t necessarily an across-the-board standard that models must meet. Each brand and clothing manufacturer has different audiences they are trying to appeal to (children, standard men & women, maternity, big & tall, etc.), and they will need a fit model to represent their target audience. So, while you may not have to fit the typical “fashion model” standards, you still need a well-proportioned and symmetrical body that fits the client’s needs.
As with other types of modeling, fit models are usually signed with agencies, and that is how clients find them. You can get fit modeling jobs as a freelance model, though, as sometimes brands will put out public job postings with the measurements they’re seeking.
While fit modeling seems easy, it involves long days of changing in and out of countless garments and standing for long hours while fabric is being draped and pinned around your body. But while their role is often invisible, it’s invaluable to the clothing industry, and they usually get compensated well for their time, making it worth the long days of being a human mannequin. Once a company finds a model that works well for its brand, they will often stick with them for several years. This means the model has to be meticulous about maintaining their measurements, but it is nice having consistent bookings in an industry where that’s hard to come by!