This article helps to capture the importance of a good fit model - a profile on Natasha Wagner from Vogue.com:
If Goldilocks went searching for the perfect bottom—not too big, not too small; not too perky, not too flat; not too toned and not too cushy, but just right—she would find it in California attached to the backside of one Natasha Wagner, who has, according to America’s denim industry, the best bottom in the country.
Standing at five feet eight inches, Wagner is a leggy size 6. She wears a 28 jean in premium denim, and for the past fourteen years her derriere has been a “secret weapon” used by brands like 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Re/Done, Paige, Vince, Proenza Schouler, Gap, Lucky Brand, Old Navy, and Levi’s (to name just a few), ensuring that their jeans come out with the “perfect” fit. “Natasha’s curves are in all the right places,” explained Jennifer De Clark, senior director of women’s design and merchandising at 7 For All Mankind. “And having the perfect proportions is key to a great jean that will fit many different body types. She is the perfect size 28!”
Passed from one brand to another through word of mouth (“Naturally when you’re that good, it doesn’t stay a secret for too long,” said Black Orchid designer, Julien Jarmoune, another client of Wagner’s), the 34-year-old Valencia, California, native and her “balanced” hip-to-waist ratio has become responsible for making your favorite jeans look as good on you as they do on your best friend, your mom, and your sister: In other words, a “wide range” of body types.
“Natasha has the perfect marriage of body types,” clarified Jarmoune. “Because if you fit with someone who is too curvy (tiny waist, big butt), or with someone who has a straight body (no hips), you are limiting yourself to just a certain body type. A jean that is fit on a straight body will never look good on someone who has curves. That’s why Natasha comes into play perfectly. She has the best of both worlds where she’s slim and she still has shape. Additionally, she has great legs that are the perfect length (she fits our standard 30-inch leg inseam flawlessly) so that our jeans will work for someone who is short or tall.”
Wagner, who now owns her own fit modeling agency (the aptly named In Demand) fell into the business “by chance” during college, after a model friend’s agency, intrigued by her frame, took her measurements. Six months later, she was a regular fit model for premium denim brands. “I kind of felt like I had won the lottery with my measurements because they were exactly what these companies were requesting,” Wagner recalled, adding that her body, specifically, is able to “fill out” jeans in a “very median way.”
Indeed, Wagner has completely flipped the idea [of] “being average” on its head. In an industry that prizes exceptionalism and perfectionism (the best body, the best hair, the best style), her 28-inch waist is celebrated for the fact that it sits squarely in the middle of the industry’s standard jean-size range, which usually starts at a 24 and ends at a 32. “If you fit jeans on a very small size, a size 24, the model is going to be very thin and not have a lot of butt and not give the pattern any shape, which would then flatten the bottom of a size 32 customer,” Wagner explains. Likewise, if you start out with a large size, a size 32, it will have too much curve for smaller, less shapely customers. “So if you start in the middle, my size, it means the jeans will fit almost anyone in that range,” she said.
Denim brands don’t just book Wagner for her perky bottom, though: She is well-versed in measurements, specs, and the details of each and every jean she fits. Her extensive experience means she is able to make informed suggestions to designers and patternmakers, articulating exactly how each particular garment could be improved. “She has a complete understanding of what makes a jean fit,” said Re/Done’s cofounder, Sean Barron.
“It is amazing how she remembers the measurements of each and every jean in our collection!” exclaimed De Clark, adding that because she has “so much experience and knows the product so well, we value her opinion on everything from measurements and fit, to fabric choice and silhouette development.” Citizens of Humanity founder Jerome Dahan, agrees. “What sets Natasha apart is her know-how,” he said. “We can work together to create fits.” And Paige Denim founder Paige Adams-Geller added that Wagner has the “perfect balance of chiming in when necessary to give her opinion on a style or silhouette and standing back enough to let our design team do their job.”
Wagner, who owns more than 100 pairs of jeans herself, explained her “science of denim” further: “Once I had learned the jean terminology, I began to help designers flesh out details or catch things that may have been overlooked. They’re busy, they’re working on the current season plus a year ahead. I’m just focusing on fit and am able to point out specifics like if the back rise is pulling or if there’s bubbling or roping,” she said. Plus, she knows the jargon. “A lot of the time you’ll get what’s called ‘slippage’ on a jean, where the denim pulls and you can kind of see the weft in the garment. So I can recommend trying a different type of construction or a different side seam. I know how the body should look in the jean, so I’m able to tell them things like, ‘Kick out the back rise,’ or ‘Take a measurement from the top of the rise and add it to the bottom of the rise to give it a nicer butt shape and a lift.’ ”
That sense of what jeans should look like—or more importantly, what they look like when you’re wearing them—is something we can all relate to in a changing room, while contorting our spines to view every different angle, wondering about our rearview. But as Wagner well knows, it’s not only numbers and specs that will determine a good-fitting jean; it really boils down to how they feel. And as Mother Denim’s cofounder and designer Tim Kaeding put it, “There is no one better to tell you that than someone like Wagner, who tries on jeans all day for a living.”