2023 is our 20th year of Fittings Division. What better way to round up the last twenty years than with a quick fire Q&A with founders Alex and Gemma.

How did Fittings Division come about?

I [Gemma] was a model booker working for a modelling agency on the Kings Road. We would receive desperate calls from clients struggling to find London based fittings models, but we were unable to help. This was due to the fact that we didn’t have the size models on our database that they needed. There was no agency in London at that time who could help.
I had very little contacts within the technical side of fashion but had a 4 year old little black book of model numbers that I needed to utilise. I ended up approaching clothing manufactures questioning how they sourced their fit models; all came back saying “with great difficulty”. I knew then that there was a niche in the market that I had to pursue.
After completing a fine art degree at St Martins, Alex was working was in graphics for a London based Newspaper. Our father had always said that if we found a successful business idea, he would financially back us. Our father had a printing firm that he ran with his brother, so Alex had to be my business partner for this to work. After a family discussion Alex decided that he’d take the risk and leave his job. Then Fittings Division Ltd was born!!!

How is it working with your sibling?

G: We didn’t have the strongest bonds when we were kids, so we were taking a risk going into partnership together but since day one it’s just worked. We have totally different personalities so there’s never been any sibling rivalries. Just total respect and admiration for each other! It’s great fun, we’re the best of friends.

A: I enjoy working with my sister. Before we would only see each other during the holidays or birthdays. It’s a privilege to see her every week and in between the usual work chit chat, we can catch up on what’s been happening at home with the family.

What size is most popular for brands to fit on?

Clients are constantly changing their sizes, when we originally started FD every womenswear clothing manufacturer wanted to fit on a size 12. In recent years this has changed. Size 8, 10 and 12’s seem equality as popular.

What’s the funniest story you’ve had happen with your fitting models?

I have had lots of stories we can laugh at now over the 20 years, but at the time they were not so funny… from models’ hair being cut accidently whilst garments being fitted, a male model’s chest hair being asked to be clipped down, a female model being asked to have her fake nails removed as she couldn’t do up the buttons, a model enjoying too much garlic the night before a fit and a client saying they can’t fit on the model. We had a model fitting a bra for a well know high street brand, she was caught short and desperate for the toilet, she did a semi naked dash from the fit room to the loo not knowing there were male suppliers over from Saudi Arabia… they got quite an eyeful of our 34DD model.

What job are you most proud of?

Think the most rewarding jobs are when you help source fit models for fashion graduates. We supply them with handpicked experienced fit models who have years of technical experience who can really help nurture the students. The models love to help do their bit for the industry too. We are also hugely proud that we made it back from covid bigger and better than we were before. And of course, our models, if it was not for them and their hard work we would not be here today.

What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learnt from 20 years of running a modelling agency?

Never be complacent or take anything for granted. Covid hit and we went from a successful agency to nothing in weeks. We felt like we had the rug pulled out from underneath us. We were being a bit dramatic but believed that twenty years of hard work had been for nothing. Luckily (like everyone) we road the storm and we’re back bigger and stronger. We realised that having time to relax can be positive even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Years ago, I would get myself wound up and lay awake at night stressing. Now I don’t let that happen.

What advice would you give to someone starting a new business right now?

Go For it. We did and never looked back. Make sure you know your market; if possible a niche idea would be best. Never take your foot off the gas, keep re-inventing yourself (daily) and know your worth.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to become a fitting model?

It is a great job! It’s hard work as the job involves being on your feet all day (normally in 4inch heels). You can be your own boss and it’s financially rewarding. Downside is you have to be very body confident (thick skinned) as your body shape/measurements will be scrutinised on a daily basis.

If you are wanting to become a fitting model then click through to here to see the requirements and how to apply.