What does it take to become a top fit model in the fashion industry? TRUE Model Management’s first fit model, Dale Noelle, fills you in on her secrets for fitting success.
TMM: How did you get started in fit modeling?
DN: While working as a salesperson for a famous fashion designer, several clients/manufacturers asked me to be their fit model. Shortly after turning down their offers, I called the two most prestigious model managers in New York City to inquire about a fit modeling career. At the first manager’s interview, I was offered an exclusive fit modeling contract and I accepted it. On my first day of go-sees, I landed four major accounts: Calvin Klein, Gap, Pepe Jeans & Et Vous. The week after, I became J.Crew’s production fit model too. I continued to gain clients and experience and my career continued to flourish non-stop for many years.
TMM: Who are some of the clients you have worked with?
DN: Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Ralph Rucci for Chado, Oscar de la Renta, Oleg Cassini, Magaschoni, The Gap, Banana Republic, J.Crew, Lela Rose, Ann Taylor, David’s Bridal, Laundry, Nicole Miller, Victoria’s Secret, Donna Karan/DKNY, The Limited, Tommy Hilfiger, Girbaud, Express, Badgley Mischka and many others.
TMM: How long have you been in the fit modeling business?
DN: Almost 20 years, but don’t tell anyone.
TMM: How has the business changed from when you first started fitting?
DN: Most clients used to fit on size 8, now clients call for all sizes. There were many talented European patternmakers and tailors who took pride in their craft, now much of the trade is computerized and clothing is made overseas. It used to be a bit more glamorous, clients spent money lavishly, overseas travel was common and most designers were located in the garment center.
TMM: What qualities do clients look for when choosing fit models?
DN: Balanced, well-proportioned and symmetrical bodies with standard measurements. Attractive models who represent the client’s typical customers and can clearly verbalize the fit issues they feel in garments are integral to creating proper fitting clothing. Models who give accurate and helpful feedback to the designers and technical teams can help companies increase sales and decrease return rates.
TMM: Any tips for someone looking to break into the business?
DN: Please contact TRUE Model Management’s website: www.TRUEmodel.net and fill out the “Become A Model” form. If you have potential, one of TRUE’s representatives will contact you to give specific, personalized guidance.
TMM: What exercises did you do to keep in shape when modeling and now?
DN: When I was a fit model, I used to literally run from appointment to appointment. Since I always had back to back appointments and not a minute to spare, I’d often run up and down the stairs instead of taking elevators because it was faster. I also carried heavy bags on the go and did squats in the shower. Now I enjoy yoga, Pilates and Barre Method.
TMM: How does personality play a role in fit modeling?
DN: In addition to having the requested proportions and stable weight, personality is very important because the clients must enjoy spending time with their models. Most fit models are naturally optimistic, resilient, cheerful and think quickly on their feet. I have also noticed that the busiest fit models smile often. Smiling is contagious. 😉
TMM: What are the types/categories for fit modeling?
DN: Men, Women & Children…. Standard, Contemporary, Misses, Maternity, Athletic, Full-Figured, Petite, Petite Plus, Swim, Intimates, Urban, Junior, Junior Plus, Tall, Big & Tall, Asian… New categories are always being added.
TMM: What are some of the opportunities fit modeling has given you that you otherwise don’t think you would have had?
DN: I got to see the world and work very closely with many groups of creative and interesting people. I visited factories around the world and got to see how clothes are made.
TMM: How does being a former fit model, fashion salesperson, production manager and daughter of a factory owner help you run TRUE Model Management?
DN: I have first hand experience in almost all aspects of the business so I understand models’ and clients’ needs. Since I share my knowledge with others and introduce fashion professionals to each other, the synergy created results in teams who work more effectively and efficiently.
TMM: Most people have never heard of fit modeling. How do you explain it?
DN: …..Wikipedia sums it up well…. “A fitting model (sometimes fit model) is a person who is used by a fashion designer or clothing manufacturer to check the fit, drape and visual appearance of a design on a ‘real’ human being, effectively acting as a live mannequin. A person is selected to work as a fitting model primarily on criteria matching the desired measurement specifications of the designer or manufacturer. These specifications generally consist of height, bust-waist-hip circumference, arm and leg length, shoulder width, and a myriad of other measurements as indicated by the garment type. This is the case whether the garments are for women or men of any size; the grading of construction patterns is often tested on a variety of fitting models to be sure that increases in size are translated accurately and evenly across the range. Beyond merely wearing the garment for inspection, a fitting model can become an integral role in the design process; commenting on garments and materials with regards to fit, movement and feel on flesh, and objective feedback on the ‘fit’ and design of the garment in the stead of the consumer. Ultimately, a fitting model aids in confirming that the sizing, design and cut of the garment to be produced meets the designer’s specifications and intentions.”
TMM: How did you come up with the name “TRUE”?
DN: I wanted one word that was simple and has multiple meanings. Fit models are TRUE to size, TRUE is a patternmaking term and TRUE representatives are honest.
TMM: What are the 3 top fit terms that any good fit model should know?
DN: Balance, Rise/Saddle, Slope.
TMM: What draws models to TRUE?
DN: We provide individualized attention and a supportive and understanding team. Everyone employed at TRUE has worked in the fashion industry for many years. TRUE is owned by a successful, former model who can assist other models to excel in their careers.
TMM: Why do you think that a lot of your new business comes from referrals?
DN: Clients have complimented TRUE for listening well and providing model options who fulfill their requested requirements. TRUE represents all types of models and includes some of the most knowledgeable and experienced fit consultants in the world. TRUE’s team is efficient, accurate and consistent in its work and the staff is extremely dedicated. Everyone at TRUE takes extra steps to deliver whatever is promised and pays attention to the details that make models’ and clients’ business lives easier and more prosperous.