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A fitting model is contracted by clothing manufacturers to try on garments as they are being produced to allow designers to observe the garments on real people and to provide feedback about issues such as comfort. While working as a fitting model may be less glamorous than walking runways or posing for fashion spreads, fitting jobs tend to be easier to book than more high-profile modeling work and are usually also less time-consuming. Generally, there is no special training required to become a fitting model, although candidates may need a portfolio and usually must conform to the body measurements called for by specific jobs.
Clothing manufacturers hire fitting models so they can ensure that nearly-completed designs “work” on real people. Generally, a fitting model reports to a manufacturer’s workroom and tries on one or more garments. After putting on each garment, the fitting model may be asked to stand still so the designer can observe the piece’s fit. She may also be asked to walk around so the designer can take note of any issues like bunching that may occur with movement. Additionally, she may be asked to comment on issues such as a garment’s comfort.
The job of a fitting model may lack the glamour and large paychecks common to more high-profile modeling work. As clothing manufacturers generally need fitting models to test every new design across a range of sizes, however, the number of fitting jobs available at any given time usually greatly outweighs the number of available high-profile jobs. Further, unlike high-profile modeling jobs, fitting work does not place a high premium on specific conceptions of physical beauty, making it a field which is open to many.
Another perk of fitting work is that individual jobs tend to last for only around two hours. This means that a fitting model can potentially have a significant amount of free time or can pursue fit work as a secondary source of income. As jobs are usually booked on a one-time basis, however, full-time models may have to spend a significant amount of time each week lining up fittings. Working with a fitting agency may eliminate the need to book jobs on one’s own.
Generally, there is no special training required to become a fitting model. In order to book jobs, however, candidates may need a portfolio which includes a resume as well as full-length photographs. Additionally, a model will generally only be booked for a specific job if her measurements match those called for by that job.