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Fit Samples - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Fit samples are samples produced by a manufacturer so that the company purchasing the product can review the garments to make certain they fit properly to the human body.  In other words, the primary function of a fit sample is to evaluate fit.
A member of the company that is buying the product (buyer, merchandisers, designers, fit technicians, or another member of the staff), will view the samples on either a fit model (a real person) or on forms (mannequin for fitting garments).  Many companies will evaluate fit on both a form and a fit model (person).
If the purchasing company is a very small company, they may not utilize fit models for each program.  Scheduling a fitting with a fit model, is not extremely expensive, but it is also generally not free... Therefore, some companies may skip hiring a fit model.  If fit models are not utilized and a company does not have the appropriate forms, they will at the very least use a tape measure to evaluate the garment to make certain that the measurements match the original size spec file.  Also, they may request samples in their own personal size and try the garment on themselves to review fit.  Most of the larger size companies will conduct fit sessions with fit models to determine if the garment fits and drapes properly.
If the garment measures properly as per the size spec, but does NOT properly fit, the designer will most likely alter the spec measurements to compensate.  They will then issue a revised spec file to the factory.  The manufacturer will then produce another set of fit samples, and the review process will begin again.  After the designers are happy with the fit, they will approve the factory to proceed to pre-production samples.
Note: Fit samples should be in the same type of fabric that is going to be used for production (same fabric construction & same fabric weight).  However, the fabric does not need to be dyed or printed to match final colors.  The purpose of fit samples, is to review the fit.  They do not need to be reviewed for color, ticketing, labeling etc.  Unless, the buyer requires everything to be submitted at one time.  Under normal circumstances, first buyers review fit samples, then pre-production samples, and then final production samples.
The design team will review fit again when the factory submits the final production samples to make sure that actual production matches the fit of the approved fit samples.  If a factory does not maintain the proper measurements during production, they may be faced with a fashion industry chargeback.
Unfortunately, there is currently no true standard for garment sizing in the apparel industry.  What is size 6 for one clothing company, may not necessarily be the same size 6 for another company.  Each designer has the authority to create their own interpretation (if the retailer does not specify strict requirements).  Although each designer wants their garments to properly fit customers, keep in mind that not all bodies are created equal... 
The human body is simply not consistent from one person to the next.  The fit sample process certainly helps, but it certainly does not make the world perfect.
In the opinion of Apparel Search, the only way to make clothing fit "all" of your customers perfectly is to make custom made clothing for each customer...  Again, our bodies are all different.
You also may have interest in the pattern maker section.  From there you can learn about pattern making software, pattern making supplies, and other relevant topics.  If you enjoy discussing topics relevant to garment fit or pattern making, you are welcome to join in the discussions at the pattern maker group on the Fashion Industry Network.

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