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There are many fashion shows in San Diego that make full use of music and dance to enrich the experience of the audience, but Gretchen Burns Bergman has been successfully doing just that since 1979. She is owner and director of Gretchen Productions, a fashion show production company that specializes in large theatrical productions which include professional models, lighting, sound, commentary, special effects and entertainment. Her clients are made up of malls like Horton Plaza and Fashion Valley, corporations like Harley Davidson and Pacific Southwest Airlines, and national charities like the American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, and Soroptimist International. Her expertise has a proven track record and her productions are of the highest caliber. A background in dance, drama, and modeling paved the way for her inclusion of all these art forms in fashion show productions. A degree in Dance Major/Drama Minor from SDSU led to a position as Artistic Director for San Diego Dance Theatre in 1979 and Director of Dancemania from 1980-1985. She was a professional model for 15 years and a teacher of Jazz Dance, Fashion Promotion and Runway Modeling at various community colleges and in her own studio. She was also a Fashion Editor for San Diego Décor and Style Magazine. Gretchen is also Director and Co-Founder of A New Path (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) San Diego is lucky to have the expertise, mentorship and professionalism of such a lady in the local fashion world, and we hope her company continues to produce quality fashions shows and inspire all those that seek to learn from her for a long time to come.

What do you believe are the elements that make a fashion show a success? GBB: It depends on your perspective. I feel that my shows are successful when the audience leaves the room having seen beauty, experienced art and design, heard amazing music and been moved emotionally by the whole experience. It is also important that I have showcased the designer’s and stores collections in a creative, favorable and memorable way. If a nonprofit is doing a fashion show as a fundraiser, success is measured by the revenue raised, plus the audience response. In other words it is a friend-raiser as well as a fund-raiser.

own boutiques. If you attend a fashion show that showcases student talent you will be amazed at the creativity. There are also several local designers who could use more publicity to highlight their work. What have been some of your greatest challenges in building up your business? GBB: The challenge is always to actually make a living in this industry. I didn’t come from a business background. Most of my clients are non-profit organizations that really need to raise funds, so budgets are always a challenge. But, I have been able to create a sustainable company.

What is the state of fashion design in San Diego?

What is it that you most enjoy about it?

GBB: We have several quality fashion design schools in San Diego, where young designers can get a good education. This is a tough field to break into, so often very talented people aren’t able to make it to the next level of actually manufacturing and selling or opening their

GBB: I got into this business because I love what I do. I started as a dancer / choreographer with a background in theatre. I also modeled, so I combined the things I love into my company. It is exciting to work with wonderful, talented people to make magic happen.


ArtsNFashion Magazine Winter Issue 2011  

The arts can be an extraordinary vehicle for education and multi-cultural understanding, as well as a source of beauty and inspiration. Cove...

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