Do You Need a Fit Model?

Jesse is a fit model with MSA Model Management and the designer behind the womenswear line, Eenvoud.

Good Fit, Bad Fit

You know that jacket that you love, but you never feel very good in? It could be a case of bad “fit.” Garment fit is as important (if not more) as the design itself in contributing towards product wearability and sell-ability. And yet, garment fit isn’t nearly as addressed head-on in the fashion world, nor is it necessarily taught in design school. It wasn’t until I became a fit model by chance, back in 2011, that I truly learned what fit is all about.


Fit Models

A fit model is a model that tries on garment samples prior to production and helps the design team to achieve a great fit. A good fit model should be physically proportionate and knowledgeable about garment fit and construction. Fit models work both freelance and through modeling agencies. MSA Model Management and TRUE Model Management are two of the better known New York agencies. Most agency-represented fit models make on average $250 per hour, so keep this in mind when determining production costs.

Fitting Critique Sessions

  • » Fittings usually involve the designer(s), the technical designer, the fit model and sometimes the merchandiser(s).
  • » After the garment design has been sketched, a sample is made. This is called the ‘”first fit sample.” This garment is fit on a fit model, the pattern critiqued, and a “second fit sample” made if needed.
  • » The sampling process continues until the garment looks and feels good on the model. The final approved sample should look balanced and should not show any drag lines or gapes.
  • » Typically, a designer makes between one to three fit samples before a garment is ready to move into production.
  • » Fitting sessions should focus mainly on the fit of the garment rather then design details. Fittings can be time-consuming and expensive, so the design should be polished beforehand.


Hiring Criteria

Here are three qualities to consider in hiring a fit model:

  • » Your Target Customer: Who is buying your clothing? You want to make sure that your model’s body reflects the body of your customer. Is your target customer on the curvy side? In her teens? Middle-aged? Fit models are typically categorized: junior (teen), contemporary, missy (the “average” woman), petite, or plus size.
  • » Measurements: Another important consideration in hiring a fit model is his or her measurements. You want to choose a fit model that falls is in the middle of your offered size range, so that when your patterns are graded up and down, there is less room for skewing too small or large. The most popular woman’s fit model sizes are 4, 6 and 8.
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  • » Knowledge: A fit model’s knowledge of garment fit and construction is crucial for he or she to proper articulating how the clothing feels. A fit model should be able to clearly describe fit in the proper terminology, such as “the front rise is too long” or “the shoulders are too sloped.” This feedback will help your technical designer immensely in writing fit comments and correcting the pattern properly. When interviewing models, make sure to ask them how they feel in what they’re wearing to gauge a sense of their familiarity with fit.

Make Your Product

After you have put together your designs, check out Maker’s Row to starting constructing your idea in the development phase. We have nearly 10,000 factories with pre-production and production capabilities.

If you want detailed instructions through the pre-production and production processes, pre-register for our Prototyping 101, and register for our Production 101 and Sourcing 101 courses. Our Academy offers these educational guides for free! Over the duration of each course, expect a new lesson in your inbox each day.


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