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A Day in the Life of a Fit Model

07/06/2016 Jennifer Braun

“Check the sweep.” “Measure the pleats.”

These are just some of the specifications the Joseph Ribkoff team is analyzing, measuring and double-checking on a variety of garments before giving them the ‘ok’, and finally, sending them off to production.

It’s an important step in the production of a garment. One, that wouldn’t be possible without the woman trying on the clothes – the fit model.

But what does being a fit model really entail? I sat down with 46-year-old Mary Skordakis, a Joseph Ribkoff fit model, to find out. The job description is surprisingly different from Kate Moss’s:

How long have you been working as a fit model?

I’ve been working as a fit model at Joseph Ribkoff since I’ve been 36, so it’s been 10 years.

How did you get into fit modeling?

I was in a totally different industry. I started out as a buyer and later worked as a documentation and certification technician for a valve manufacturing company. It was a very high stress job, and I had young kids at the time, so I was looking for something better.

I saw the ad in the paper and I said ‘omg that looks interesting, let me give it a shot’. I came for the interview, they measured me, they had me try on a few sample sizes and model for them. Everything fit like a glove and I got the job.

What does being a fit model entail?

Before I started working here, I didn’t even know what a fit model was. Then I realized just how important of a job it is for the industry. Without a fit model, companies are just trying garments on dummies, but a dummy can’t tell you if a garment is itchy, or if it’s too tight, too loose or not comfortable. My job is really to let the buyers and the technician know how a garment feels.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Fittings, fittings and more fittings.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I think it’s the people I work with and the environment. I’ve been working with a lot of the same people for the last 10 years. I also get nice clothes out of it! Joseph Ribkoff has been around for over 50 years too and they make beautiful clothes.

What’s the most stressful part of your job?

I guess it’s standing on your feet for a long period of time. Standing still on your feet - especially in heels - gets tiring. We’ve also had issues where we get scratched by pins, but that’s part of the job.

What advice do you have for people who are interested in becoming a fit model?

Do it! Do it! If it’s something that you just think you might be interested in - just got for it! You can meet amazing people and it’s such an important job. Without a fit model, a garment will never make it into production.

Joseph Ribkoff is currently in need of a full time size 8 fit model. You can apply if you have these proportions: Height 5’7” – bust 35 ½” to 36” – waist 28” to 29” – hips 38” to 38 ½”. Apply at [email protected]

This interview has been edited and condensed.