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Designer dress stolen from local charity auction


A Newcastle-based charity is seeking public assistance to locate a designer dress, which was recently stolen from a display mannequin in a local shopping centre.

Corethics, an independent, all-volunteer, not-for-profit established to create thriving and sustainable communities in the developing world, has been rocked by the theft that took place in Charlestown Square.

The dress, designed and made by Heritage College Lake Macquarie teacher Michelle Villis, was a finalist in Corethics Sustainable Fashion Design Competition for 2024.

Her garment along with three other finalists’ creations were donated to the organisation – and on display – ahead of a charity auction on 13 March.

Proceeds from the indigo-themed gala event at Merewether’s Modus Brewery will go towards sustainable water projects in Indonesia, with the winning designer also being announced on the night.

Competition organiser Marnie Coates was shattered by the brazen act.

“I can’t express how disappointed I am,” she said.

“It’s just devastating, given all of the time and effort that went into the creation of this stunning piece of wearable art.

“I am upset for Michelle and dismayed the charity will no longer benefit from her generosity.

“Our primary concerns, however, are the safety of Charlestown’s locals if daring crimes like this are being committed, as well as the recovery of the dress.”

CCTV footage from the centre has been given to the police and residents are urged to contact Crime Stoppers with information.

“The garment can be returned anonymously to Centre Management at Charlestown Square without further action being taken,” Ms Coates added.

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