28 Apr Perfect Fit | Erica Lippy
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I remained here to attend college at FIDM (Downtown LA) to pursue a career in fashion design. Five years into my career I became a freelance designer, and in addition, started “fit modeling” through a well-known agency. I was blessed with a strong start – I was booked at every go-see I went on; so, soon after beginning, fit modeling took over my schedule, and I embraced the unexpected change.
Eleven years later, here I am, a full-time professional and highly experienced Fit model, which has been described as “a live mannequin with specific industry-standard measurements, who is able to assist designers and production team in achieving the perfectly fitting garment, which can then be mass-produced based off the fit model’s body for all sizes.” A fit model is a very specific job, and very few men or women could be classified as one.
I have been very fortunate to work with and to help develop over 100 clothing brands. I have fit everything under the sun. I am known within the industry for giving valuable feedback and pattern suggestions to correct the fit, as well as construction input that will benefit overall production. Also, with previous experience as a fashion designer, I can notice small details that can make the biggest difference. To put it simply, I don’t just stand there.
Not many people are aware of how clothing is made, and why it fits the way it does. Few know that clothing is first fit on a specific person (Fit Model) to achieve the final fit of a finished product in order to garner valuable visualization and feedback of feel/fit, that a simple mannequin cannot provide.
Many people are also under the misconception that models of any type are tall, skinny and fall within the sizes 0-2. This is not the case. Fit models are real women who fit into real sizing… not too skinny, not too tall. For example, I am 5’ 7”, a size 4 (contemporary), I fit 27” in jeans, small tops and dresses, and a size 5 (junior). We, as fit models, must keep our measurements within ¼” of our measurements at all times.
How do I maintain my shape and measurements? Experience. I can tell when I might be a little big or a little bit smaller than I am supposed to be. I have learned to know my body so well that I also know what to do if my body is outside of the ¼” margin. It takes dedication and professionalism.
I work out on a regular basis, but not excessively. It is a lifestyle for me and has been since I was young. I weight train, practice Pilates techniques, and I enjoy hiking. My diet is based on variety –
I eat healthy, though I allow myself casual indulgences. I eat sweets, as well as fats and carbs. But I know how to recognize immediately if my body is shifting.
Many fit models will be used for just tops or bottoms, but I have fit both. I am mostly desired for the bottom bit, especially in denim.
I started working as a fit model with an agency, but for many years I have mostly represented myself. I have non-exclusive agreements with the agencies I still work through. I have also partnered with a boutique agency, “Perfect Fit Models,” which was started by one of the most desired fit models in the industry. The agency has since become a successful, go-to agency in the industry.
If someone is looking to begin work fit modeling, I would welcome him or her to contact me personally and discuss the intricacies of the industry, to help decide if is right fit. The industry is expansive; it can include petites, plus size, men and children.
What are the perks or benefits of being a fit model? Besides the paycheck!?…Several things. First, knowing that through your body, they are creating a perfectly fitting garment. You help to create a finished product and every size is graded off your body. The clothing will fit you perfectly, and it will provide a perfect fit for countless others. Many times, companies will also extend an employee discount to their fit models. Sometimes, models will even be gifted garments. The workday is relaxed, the environments are fun. We, as models, get to see what the companies are doing three months before the designs are released to the public. As well-being self-employed, you can make your own schedule.
I am beyond grateful for my career and for the amazing clients I work for. At the end of the day, I know I am appreciated and valued for my expertise.