AURORA, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 10, 2015) - BERNINA of America, the premier manufacturer of sewing, embroidery and quilting machines, in partnership with Fashion X, is pleased to announce that Dallas designer Neil Marek was recognized as the BERNINA Blanc Design Challenge Grand Prize winner during the Blanc event in Austin on Friday, November 6. As Grand Prize winner, Neil received a $20,000 Grand Prize package from BERNINA that included a BERNINA 790 (B 790) sewing machine with embroidery module, a BERNINA 1300 MDC serger, and the exclusive BERNINA suitcase system. He also received garment production services from Trunkist and online fashion business classes with Fashion Business Accelerator 360. 

Additionally, designer Venny Etienne, also from Dallas, received the People's Choice award, a BERNINA 1300 MDC serger and coverstitch valued at $2,300. The BERNINA Blanc Design Challenge People's Choice award was given to the designer who received the most fan votes online. 

"Neil's garment was well-constructed, creative, smart and deserving of the Grand Prize award," said Amy Gutierrez, Director of Marketing for BERNINA of America. "We are pleased to present him with a BERNINA 790 sewing and embroidery machine and a BERNINA 1300 MDC serger to assist him with his future collections." 

Nearly 60 designers entered the BERNINA Blanc Design Challenge. The designers were required to submit sketches of garments that were original, innovative, well-constructed and designed using an all-white color palette. Entries were judged by industry leaders such as Michelle Lee, editor-in-chief of NYLON Magazine, designer Eileen Fisher, bloggers Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes and Courtney Kerr of What Courtney Wore, style icon Catherine Guidici Lowe of The Bachelor, and Project Runway Season 13 winner, Sean Kelly and online fans. 

"I am grateful to BERNINA for this amazing prize package," said Neil Marek. "The BERNINA 790 and 1300 MDC are premium machines that will allow me to explore my creativity with greater precision and unique features." 

"I am honored to have been chosen by the fans as the People's Choice award winner," said Venny Etienne. "It shows the support that I have of those that believe in me and also my fashion design career. I'd like to thank BERNINA for the 1300 MDC serger. I'm very excited to use it on future designs." 

The BERNINA Blanc Design Challenge was created by BERNINA of America and Fashion X Austin to provide designers the opportunity to share their creative abilities and be awarded with a unique package to reward their excellence. To view sketches, visit

Founded in Switzerland more than 100 years ago, BERNINA is the world's premier manufacturer with a proven reputation for offering quality state-of-the-art sewing, quilting and embroidery machines, overlockers/sergers, and embroidery software. BERNINA's leadership is marked by an impressive number of ambassadors, industry leaders, influencers and bloggers, who chose to partner with the company. BERNINA products are sold in the United States through a network of over 400 fully trained independent dealerships that also offer support and education. Select BERNINA and bernette machines, and BERNINA software can also be purchased through BERNINA's eCommerce site, BERNINA products are designed for beginning to advanced sewists and priced to meet a variety of budgets, with new products being introduced every year. You can follow BERNINA on Facebook:, Instagram: @BERNINAUSA, and Pinterest:, and read BERNINA's WeAllSew blog at To learn more about BERNINA and to find a Dealer, visit or call (630)978-2500.

About Fashion X
Fashion X produces high end live fashion events such as Austin Fashion Week ( and Fashion X Dallas ( which showcase emerging fashion designers alongside national brands and sponsors. Fashion X events are attended by industry leaders, but are also ticketed to the general public, giving engaged consumers a rare opportunity to experience high quality runway production. Fashion X live events are enhanced with year-round original content and a strong social presence targeted to the individual geographic markets. With recent media coverage from WWD, Southern Living Magazine (Austin was named a top 5 fashion week in the South), RackedLA, Elle Magazine, (the "fashion week to watch"), and many more, Fashion X empowers significant exposure for emerging designers. More information contact Matt Swinney at

Contact Information:

Media Contact for BERNINA of America, Inc.:
Joanne Tedesco