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Hidden Gems: Meet Gwendolyn Bates of Fashion Week San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwendolyn Bates.

Hi Gwendolyn, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
As an entrepreneur at heart, I have always had a desire to create, produce and execute. Most people know me for creating a brand called GFASH  a red carpet accessory brand that premiered for the first time at Fashion Week San Diego® (FWSD). This is organization is very near and dear to my heart as I am a native to California, enjoy entrepreneurship, and love helping designers. Fashion Week San Diego®. This year I am happy to announce some normalcy with a comeback of FWSD 2021 hybrid events. On the roster, we have our signature event in NY in partnership with the Art Renewal Center and Sotheby’s International, where we will bring a San Diego presence to NYC. Then we will have the main runways on October 2 and 3 at U4RIK Distillery & Event Space. Tickets can be purchased online for in-person or virtual viewing at

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The road in this role has been anything but smooth. It’s a large and professional organization with lots of moving parts and staff. Initially, upon starting the year in 2020, the world shut down in March due to COVID-19, and businesses were devastated if not preparing to close their doors for good. It was such a difficult time for all industries and in history, but I am happy to say we never quit at FWSD. We made it happen in the midst of uncertainty and I am proud of each and every team member. One thing we did quickly was pivot to a virtual landscape providing value to our audience, making the main event available globally. When I say globally, we hit Italy, Spain, US, Asia, the Philippines, plus several more countries with live viewers. We produced virtual fashion stories showcasing designers with Broadway Hill Videography and created dynamic imagery with 656 Photography. To say this was our only pivot would be an understatement. COVID-19 was a time of devastation in our industry and difficult for myself as the new Director, but also a time of innovation and perseverance.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Fashion Week San Diego?
FWSD® has the largest and longest-standing fashion week on the west coast that is independently owned, operated and has the only diversity cultural program known to fashion week globally. FWSD® stays fresh and relevant by incorporating culture, art, and entertainment into a fashion year, not just a fashion week. It all started to be a progressive modern change to how the fashion industry held, ran, and produced fashion weeks with the main mission to be more designer-focused. FWSD, from conception, has set out to hold relevant sales and marketing events to showcase the talent of these emerging brands by making sure they also have the opportunity to capitalize and sustain business from our events and exposure. We are thrilled to be the model that so many try to emulate. We have a reputation for always being professional, reputable, the right audience and produced real results for the designer brands we showcase. Fashion Week San Diego (FWSD) has been able to launch the careers of many designers and continues to grow every year.

Additionally, FWSD has a heart for sustainability, animals, and diversity in the fashion industry while fostering small business empowerment. We are a bi-coastal organization with our event in NYC and now a platform for a live broadcast for our main shows. Any DESIGNERS or PARTNERS looking to link up with the one and only Fashion Week that’s been in this region since 2007 and continues to dominate, we encourage those to send us an email to

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
I have personally learned several lessons throughout COVID-19. First, the spirit of collaboration and push-through was a must. During COIVD-19 sharing knowledge of what’s working, what’s not working and finding out how we can all help each other as a community of small businesses was vital. Secondly, though situations looked very dim for the fashion industry in general, being a trendsetter and powering through with new ideas and quick implementation was key. And third, as business owners and human beings, we need to take time for ourselves often and not only during a pandemic, but we need to be intentional to take time for resiliency throughout the year.


  • $50 Virtual Viewing Ticket October 2nd
  • $125 In Person Event Ticket October 2nd
  • $50 Trunk Show Pass October 3rd

Contact Info:

Image Credits
ALL Photography by 656 Photography (FWSD head photographer) Fashion Week San Diego main runway shows 10/17/2020 @ Luce Loft Fashion Week San Diego Spring Showcase @ U4RIK Distillery & Event Space

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