The 22-year-old Inglewood resident earned the award for her dress design made from the wet suit material, neoprene.
‘The material doesn’t fray so I wanted to work with that and included slashing on the front and raw edges,’ she said.
‘There is also a screen print embellishment on the back.’
The award was a surprise for the third-year costume student, who said she had previously focused more on the technical aspects of costume making rather than design.
‘For me, creating the design was the hardest part because I have been so heavily trained in the construction,’ Ms Nicholls said.
‘But I did like the opportunity to design and style and knowing the technical side and what is possible helps with the design process.’
Miss Nicholls said her first interest in designing came from her mother, who teaches dress design at Tafe. She is now fielding offers to work in New York and her home town of Sydney.
‘Winning the PFF award means I have to create a capsule collection to exhibit at the festival next year. This win has thrown everything up in the air for me as I am now considering getting more into design,’ she said.
– Two other WAAPA students also won awards at the Perth Fashion Festival Student Runway with Meg-Isabella Hewett winning the eco design category and Emily Brewer winning contemporary eveningwear.