Amie addresses one of the most complex questions - from both customers and brands.
Astute in biometrics, analytical chemistry, brand sizing and fit; Amie’s background brings a unique perspective to the FIT:MATCH team. During her 15+ year career as a technical fit model and consultant, Amie’s proven track record has positively affected production timelines and ensured quality and consistency for target customers - ultimately improving brand loyalty, increasing sales and reducing returns for brand partners. In addition to her work as Director of Fit and Sizing, she also leads the company’s in-house 3D team and QA efforts.
I consider myself lucky, as I found success in the industry very quickly. While at a party, one of the top male fit models in the industry said to me, “Hey, you should be a fit model.” I asked him what that was and he replied with:
“A fit model is someone who gives feedback to designers and technical designers on the fit of a garment. They have a proportionate body and are the right height.”
I am 5’8 and apparently this was the perfect height for a fit model, with the average woman between 5'4-5'6.
During my career as a fit model, I have had days where I tried on over 200 garments and had hundreds of pictures taken of me. These photos would be used either to document the style for designers, sent off to factories to show where an ill-fitting garment needed adjustments, or for final approval to be pushed to production. The goal was always to collaborate to create consistently well-fitting garments with the brand. One company I worked for even created a mannequin based on my measurements and full body scan, to be used by tech design and factories for improved communication, consistency and quality.
It's important to note, that fit models represent the most "average of averages" in a brand's customer base.
Brands hire fit models so that designers can see their designs come to life. Technical designers rely on fit models to give quality feedback on the fit, feel and function of garments. A fit model is not the same as a fashion, commercial or runway model.
Fit models are hired based on how closely their body matches the brand's customer base. Each brand fits a bit differently, i.e. a little smaller in the waist, a little larger over the shoulders, etc.
They have balanced, well-proportioned and symmetrical bodies with standard size measurements for their category.
What are some of the implications of a brand's fit model?
Each brand has their own secret sauce, and they expect the fit model to mimic the brands’ target customer.
Fit models bring consistency to brand sizing so a customer knows what to expect and will hopefully purchase more, return less and be loyal to the brand.
If you look and feel great in a particular brand, it’s probably because the fit model has a similar body type to yours, in addition to the brand having an amazing design team and talented technical designers.
What is vanity sizing?
Why am I a size 2 in J Crew but a size 8 in H&M?
"Vanity sizing" means altering measurement specifications for garments to enable consumers to fit into smaller sizes or to exclusively design and grade to particular aesthetics. There are some differences in fit across men's clothing, but as a whole sizing is standardized.
Conversely, all women's apparel sizing is considered vanity sizing. The proportions are just an average of the greater populations’ bust, waist, and hip measurements. There are brands that have tried to move away from vanity sizing, but left their customers confused and dissatisfied. This is where technology like FIT:MATCH is really helpful - instead of having to try on multiple sizes or guess what size you are in different brands, you can shop only what fits.
How has the apparel industry evolved fitting practices over the last decades?
The use of 3D platforms for design and technical design has been revolutionary. Companies like OPTITEX, CLO, and Browzwear have platforms and technology that support the needs of the industry. They are not only user-friendly, but ease processes and have a positive environmental impact by reducing samples and shipping costs. And with fast fashion’s boom, the industry was trying to keep up and have a shorter production cycle. Now we see a surge of recycled, repurposed clothing. However, I believe in-person fittings will always be important, as we need to know not only if a garment has the look or fit intent we think it does, but also that it is functional for the shopper.
Why are bras one of the most hard-to-fit categories?
10 different bodies with the same measurements all carry their proportions differently, and when it comes to breasts- there are even more variations in shape! Bra sizes are standardized, but sometimes a customer is between sizes in the band or cup and strap adjustments can help. Many customers are so used to buying a particular size or they keep bras too long which leads to stretching, leaving them thinking “this is just how it fits!” Most women don’t know their true size - they just know what they are used to.
A good fitting bra is so much more, it delivers confidence, can improve posture, reduce back pain and is a foundation piece that will make your clothes look better!
A customer’s confidence and comfort can be tied to personal preference, but in order for a bra to be comfortable - it has to fit properly.
At FIT:MATCH, we look at a dozen more potential fit issues, plus the style, fit intent and product specs to recommend the best fit for each shopper’s unique shape.
How do you know that a bra is a good fit? What do you look for in a bad fit?
A bra should be comfortable and supportive. Of course, fit preferences come into play as some people like more coverage or comfort, but truthfully most do not know their correct size.
In recent bra fit testing events conducted by FIT:MATCH, we surveyed over 500 women and our hypothesis was correct:
80% of participants were wearing the wrong size bra.
The band is too big if it rides up and too small if it digs in.
The cup is too small if it causes spillage.
The cup is too large if it is gaping away from the body.
A well fitted bra!
The band lays flat and there is no spillage on cups.
How does the FIT:MATCH model address these fit issues head on?
We recognize and respect that all people have unique shapes, measurements, and proportions - no matter the "standard." Using artificial intelligence and machine learning alongside 3D and live fittings, we honor these differences in bodies and in fit intent. This ultimately brings more satisfaction and confidence to both shoppers and brands. It's also the primary reason I joined FIT:MATCH.
Our matching algorithms reached astronomical proportions when our Chief Data Scientist, Dr. Jie Pei joined our team, bringing with her- patented shape based methodologies licensed by Cornell University. I am lucky to work alongside the entire FIT:MATCH team who is dedicated to delivering an innovative solution to consumers and brands. Our mission remains to deliver fit confidence to all!