POPSUGAR: What is a fit model?
Nicole Callahan: There are actually two types of internal models: fit and showroom models. When we have presentations for buyers and need to show them what a product looks like on the body, we have a reasonably proportioned showroom model come in. Fit models are internal — you only use them with your design team. So you start with an idea for a sample, you get it back from the manufacturer, and you put it on the fit model to see how it works.
PS: How do brands choose their fit model?
NC: They're the type of person each company identifies as their own specs. There's a 4, 6, 8, 12 and small, medium, large — well, what does that mean? At one store you're a 6, but at another you're a 4; the reason for that is each company builds its own standards for who they think their ideal woman is. Some higher-end companies, for example, cut to a smaller woman in general. You choose your fit model based on who you think your consumer is.
PS: How many fit models do brands have?
NC: It's getting more sophisticated — it used to be that you would have one size fit model. Maybe you would pick your medium, usually your 6. What's happening now, is that companies are checking the fit on a number of different sizes. Bigger companies have done that for years, but more and more people are doing it.
PS: How many models do you use?
NC: I have three. I’m fitting on a size small and checking it on a small model. I actually start my fit process at a size small, and then I grade it up to my medium model and see what works. Then I know how my large and my extra large will fit. And then I actually have a plus-size model as well.
PS: You can't just grade up your medium to plus size?
NC: You shouldn't — if you do, you're going to be in trouble, because women's bodies really change by the time they get beyond 1X, which is like an 18.
PS: Do fit models specialize by body part?
NC: Intimate models are their own thing. If you're a bra fit model, then you're a bra fit model. Clothing's a little different. When I was a fit model, I mostly did denim, and you do find people gravitating toward certain groups of things and get streamlined.
PS: So if a company changes fit models, do they replace them with one who has the exact same proportions?
NC: It's a lot harder than it seems, because as much you can look for the perfect shaped body, there's no such a thing as a standard body that hits all the "average" measurements. For example, every woman has hips that are a little different — one woman could be wider, another has a larger behind — and they could still have the same measurements.
Source: Instagram user lyssefashion