Working very much behind-the-scenes and without cameras documenting the process, fit modeling is an invisible but invaluable segment of the fashion industry. Each Friday in the coming weeks, we'll share the stories of eight fit models, past and present, who will divulge the fascinating minutiae of this little-known but very integral (and well-paid) line of work. Next up: Elizabeth Brown, who's making strides in helping the industry become more size inclusive. You can read the rest of the models' testimonials here.
Current clients include: Ralph Lauren, Lane Bryant, Kohl's, Jessica Simpson, Loft, Gloria Vanderbilt, Anne Klein
"I've been fit modeling for almost five years now. One of my best friends, a fashion designer, forwarded an email about True Model Management's Model Search to win a contest to be signed as their next straight- and plus-size models. She knew that my body was balanced and proportionate and basically told me that if I didn't enter, she would do it for me. So I thought, why not? What do I have to lose? I sent my information and applied — shortly after, I was invited by a True rep to have my measurements taken and walk for them. I was signed that day.
I was waitressing at the time I got signed with True. I was at the beginning of my journey to really find my passion and make a career out of it. I love the fashion industry and went to college for design, but needed to find my place within it. Loft recently launched extended sizing, and all of the bottoms and skirts were built on me. I fit denim, tops, career [pieces], sweaters, outerwear and dresses. My all-time favorite thing to fit is denim. I love helping plus women feel sexy in their jeans. I've been so blessed to have wonderful relationships with the brands I work with. Jessica Simpson was the first brand to hire me and I'm still fitting with them; I've been able to establish long relationships with the brands I fit for.
I've worked with both plus exclusive brands and with brands that have extended sizing. There are very apparent differences when working with both. Working with plus exclusive brands, it's all about the plus woman: What makes her feel good, what attracts her, how can we make the best fit garment for a woman with different needs and insecurities than a straight-size woman. There is more leeway if we need to change a design in order to help the plus woman feel comfortable, sexy and confident. When working with extended sizing brands, it's all about making the garment look as similar to the straight-size garments as possible. There is not a lot of wiggle room in changing actual measurements of the garment, because it has to fit in a grade range that fits 0 to 24-26. That's a lot of sizes, and to make them all look as similar as possible can be a challenge. I love working with both types of brands; any way that I can help my fellow plus women feel confident is a win for me.
I've definitely noticed an increase in work opportunities and clothing options — even in stores when I'm shopping. It's exciting to see positive change and to help women of all sizes feel sexy and confident in what they're wearing. I can see the change and how far we've come in this industry.
I absolutely love being a fit model. Being able to work in an industry that I love and combining it with my passion of body positivity and helping plus women feel confident and sexy is a dream. Knowing that I get to stand up for plus women and their needs and have a voice to affect change in how the industry sees the plus-size bodies is exactly where I want to be. I wake up excited for my day, every day. We still have a long journey on the body positivity road, but I'm up for the challenge."