Denim has always been an undisputed fashion staple, but it seems over the past few years designers have gotten more creative making the fabric even more modern, versatile and desirable to the American consumer than we could have dreamed ( you can finally satisfy your need for a fresh kimono and denim in one purchase). Denim has covered the the runway, been splashed across the newsstands (Marie Claire, Nylon, etc.) and swallowed the streets. With the beginning of autumn on our heels fall denim hysteria is fully underway and if you haven’t heard of Natasha Wagner yet, well, it was only a matter of time.
Fit models are used by designers to check the cut and shape of clothing on a live model and make adjustments before being introduced to the market. Your favorite pair of jeans hug you in all the right places and stretch with your movements thanks to fit models. Natasha is a denim fit model who has been unofficially dubbed the “Best Butt In America” by the denim industry. She has been featured in Vogue and Refinery29. She has been a denim fit model for over a decade for all the biggest names in denim (like Seven For All Mankind). We recently had a great opportunity to get to know the model better firsthand. America, meet Natasha Wagner. Read our interview below.
Natasha in Mother Denim Photo by Tommaso Mei
When did you start fit modeling? How did you begin to specialize in denim in your career?
My fit modeling career began 14 years ago while I was studying in college. I feel very fortunate I fell into this line of work because it has become my true passion. When I first started fit modeling, I was young, shy, and knew nothing about fashion. I began specializing in fitting denim because denim companies really liked my body proportions and height. I was slender yet curvy with long legs. Denim was also what I enjoyed fitting the most. I became an expert at measurements and detail proportions. Fittings can be long and boring if you’re just standing there while someone is pinning and making changes, so I decided to take a more active role. I loved learning about the denim making process and was able to become involved and provide useful feedback, beyond just standing like a mannequin. I also have an uncanny ability to remember numbers (something I inherited from my father, along with his long legs) and can remember most of the measurements of all the garments we fit, which helps when establishing target specs. Not to worry though, I am very professional and never share trade secrets with other companies.
What was the first major denim brand you modeled for?
My first major denim account was the brand GUESS. My career in premium denim really skyrocketed a couple years later when I started fitting for Seven For All Mankind. It was perfect timing because I had just graduated from college and was able to take on more work, even though I was already taking mostly night classes to accommodate my fit schedule during the day. It was also the beginning of the premium denim boom and I was able play a role in its success; it was all about the fit.
Do you have any experience modeling or fitting raw denim?
Yes, I do have experience fitting raw denim (aka untreated, unwashed denim). Some companies use raw denim to create a fit block first. They then use that block as a base to cut the other jeans. Those jeans are then sent to the laundry to have the different washes they developed for the season, allowing them to have samples jeans ready to fit. Most of my companies do not produce just a raw jean, as cool as they are; they just aren’t comfortable to wear, especially for women. However, if you do have the time and patience to break in your own raw jeans, you can get the best denim character and effects that you created all yourself.
Photo courtesy Seven For All Mankind
What is your favorite denim trend right now? What trend do you think will become big next season/over the next few years?
My favorite denim trend right now is the 70’s inspired jeans and details: high-waisted, braided waistbands with front patch pockets in a flare leg or skirt. I think for the upcoming seasons the palazzo pants, culottes and flares are going to make the biggest statement in fashion denim.
What is your favorite cut?
I’m the girl who said I would never wear skinny jeans. Now, I will probably be the last one to stop wearing skinny jeans.
I’m sure you are familiar with all the big brands today, but we have a flare for nostalgia here at Denim Therapy. What brands were you wearing in high school?
In high school during the late 90’s, I was wearing low rise, bootcut jeans made by Gap, L.E.I, Mavi, or Z. Cavaricci that barely covered my Converse Jack Purcell sneakers.
We have a lot of customers shyly referring to some holes as being in the “inner thigh” or “groin area” but we just say crotch! So we have to ask: butt or bum? Is there a formal or correct industry term?
I’m a little shy about using the word “butt” myself, but I find it necessary when describing my work. On a daily basis when fitting, I hear these comments: “This makes her butt look big.” “This makes her butt look flat.” “Her butt looks weird”.” “Her butt looks amazing!” I think those comments answers your question on the industry term. I personally like the French word for behind, derrière, over the words butt or bum.
Photo courtesy Seven For All Mankind
Let’s not forget the brain behind the bum! What books are you reading right now?
I just finished the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, about running creative companies and breaking barriers. I discovered this book on Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Books list, which I also recommend. I am starting the book NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman, which is about autism and Asperger’s syndrome. I picked it up after hearing the author on NPR while I was driving home from work. I’m interested in learning more about the brain and the growing autism epidemic.
What are your goals for the future? Where would you like to see your career 5 years from now?
This is a question I ask myself everyday to make sure that I am achieving my goals and allowing them to shift accordingly. I would love to write a novel, loosely inspired by my life as a fit model as well as other personal experiences. I think I have an inspiring and interesting story to tell about a previously insecure girl who never thought she would become the most in-demand denim fit model in a multi-billion dollar industry. Don’t worry colleagues, friends and family; the book will be mostly fiction. Five years from now, I hope I am doing what I do now or something more creative and fashion related.
Natasha in Levi’s Photo by Tommaso Mei
Want to see more of Natasha? Follow her on Instagram!
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: 2015, best butt, Cavaricci, DENIM, denim trends, fit model, Gap, Guess, interview, L.E.I., Mavi, Natasha Wagner, Seven For all Mankind, skinny jeans, womens denim