Recessionista: Dale Noelle
Fit Model, True Model Management
So, sounds pretty cool to have designers make their sizes around your body. I mean, I might actually pay them to do that! But, no, no I know — it’s a full-time, crazy, tough job. What’s the pay for a fit model?
Average pay for a fit model in New York is around $250/hour. During other hours and for travel, higher rates apply.
To be your most marketable self, being a renaissance woman definitely increases your chances of being selected by clients for a fit modeling job. In addition to looking beautiful, a model needs to do her homework and bring knowledge and valuable comments to fittings. Prima donnas need not apply. Natural optimists, multi-taskers with lots of endurance and resilient egos are best suited for fit modeling, provided she’s blessed with the proportional, standard figure and can maintain that body, ALWAYS.
I like all that except for the looking proportional part…that sounds exhausting!
Everyone always asks me how I maintain my toned figure and my response is always: I RAN here and I’ll RUN to my next appointment and RUN to the next and the next after that until tonight and I carry a very heavy bag.
But it’s not just about running, what’s your gig’s dirty secret?
Garments that fit well, sell well. In addition to being an attractive, inspirational muse, the best fit model is an excellent source of technical knowledge and an effective communicator. It is mandatory for a fit model to continuously maintain the same shape and body measurements. The model must suggest specific improvements to technical teams to assist in the creation of well-fitting clothes for retail sale.
What’s your secret weapon?
A tape measure and an extremely positive attitude.
OK, a trip to the craft store and a bottle of Prozac — check! Aside from that, what’s the secret to get started?
Achieve a toned body and high energy level through good eating habits and a consistent exercise regime. Once you are happy and healthy, be prepared to maintain your figure. Have a tailor or professional fit consultant take your body measurements to compare with industry standards. Own a tape measure and check your measurements daily to learn your body’s natural range. Read Women’s Wear Daily, take sewing, pattern-making and technical design classes. Shop major clothing retailers to analyze and learn which brands and styles fit your figure the best.
We of course know that it’s the well-fitting clothes that sell best, so you are very valuable to the industry, sister! Now, do me a favor and turn on them — what’s the industry’s dirty secret?
Certain companies believe in vanity sizing to play on the emotions of consumers who feel slimmer as a result of wearing smaller sizes. Vanity sizing got a little carried away for a while and consumers caught on to the skewed sizes so many companies tried to scale back a little on oversizing. Other designers always prefer to work with smaller models whose clothing may be more aesthetically pleasing to them and whose production samples could double as showroom samples to save money.
Hey, now, I like that vanity sizing thing! I mean, when I pretend that it’s real sizing. But, let’s get something straight: you don’t have to be a waif to be a fit model, you can be whatever size as long as you don’t fluctuate…which now makes your job sound Herculean above everything else you do…
Today there are fit models in many shapes and sizes, not just size 8 for women or size 40 for men. Size 12 is becoming increasingly popular since it is closer to the average size woman in America and plus size clothing is a tremendous market. In addition, there are requests for petite, Asian, urban and curvy models. Some companies even hire models in every size they sell. Today a size 00 as well as a size 24 may be fitting garments. Often, a model remaining exactly the same size — a requirement in this business — will fit one size at one company and be considered another size at a different company. There is also a difference in desired model shapes in different areas of the US and world. For example, designers on the west coast request woman with larger breasts, middle America requests bigger waists, and, on the east coast, models have more balanced proportions.
And now for the deepest, darkest, dirtiest secrets of a Fit Model:
One time, I came home late from a fitting and noticed horrible, dark bruises all over my back. For hours, I thought I was injured or had blood clots until I finally figured out that I had worn a garment with a huge “SAMPLE” ink stamp inside the clothes that had rubbed off on me.
Another time, my acupuncturist performed a “cupping” technique on my back which left me with real, welts and bruises all over my back. Turns out my first fitting the next day was at Badgley Mischka and every gown we fit was strapless and backless. I was embarrassed and mortified but it turned out that the designer loves that cupping technique and everyone in the room thought it was the coolest thing (who would have thought??)
Not moi! OK — keep the secrets coming, sister. This is good stuff…
I took a colon cleanser to slim down one day and went to the bathroom so many times in a row, I got too skinny and had to pig out while running to my next fitting to get my waist back to spec in minutes.
OMFG. Now, I am totally speechless.