Whitney Port on Lauren Conrad and The Hills: "Our Fashion Game Was Not Great"

My how time flies! Whitney Port has been calling herself a fashion designer for eight years now, introducing Whitney Eve in 2008 (The City ended in 2010). Her latest success involves a special collection for QVC, available to pre-shop today, followed up by a full 24 hours of Port selling pieces on-air on August 3. Glamour got the exclusive look at the range, plus a chance to talk life, fashion, and, of course, seriously stylish co-stars like Lauren Conrad and Olivia Palermo.

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IFN: You’ve officially been a designer since 2008—congratulations! How have things changed since you started?

Whitney Port: Originally, I had a very different lifestyle and the economy was at a different place. I was making $200 to $500 dresses in elaborate, expensive fabrications and that was sort of my lifestyle. I was going to events and dressing for work and whatnot, being a young professional in New York City out on the town. Then the economy just took a turn for the worse. I really got a better grasp on who the girl actually wearing my collection was and shifted thinking to make it younger and more fun and bring the price point down.

IFN: Who you define as the Whitney girl?

WP: There are so many people I envision wearing it: It’s not a cookie-cutter girl. It’s someone who wants to have fun with fashion who isn’t afraid to stand out a bit, but also just really wants to be comfortable. I focus a lot on cozy, comfy fabrics and try to make fashion-forward pieces that you can run around in.

IFN: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

WP: Follow-through and being able to stick with it. Any kind of business or start-up you have, you’re going to be faced with a lot of people who maybe don’t believe in it or see the vision or just say no. The key is seeing beyond that and really trying to not let the no’s get you down. As cliché as it sounds, when one door closes, another one opens. Whenever I’ve gotten bad news about something, within a week or two there’s another opportunity that brings new hope or keeps me motivated.

IFN: How does the life you’re leading now differ than what you would have dreamed for yourself at this age when you were 12 or 13?

WP: I was so never the kind of person that saw exactly where I should be and then tried to get there. What I’ve wanted has evolved as my life has. When I was younger I probably envisioned myself as a career girl in New York City, living that lifestyle, probably from watching Sex and the City and wanting that whole life. Now it’s definitely more laid-back, which I prefer. Certain things happen in life that force you to take a pause and priorities are constantly changing. You’re meeting different people and things don’t always go as planned, but in the best way possible.

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This “awful pink dress,” worn to a Legally Blonde event with Audrina Patridge and Conrad in 2007, makes Port cringe now

IFN: It’s so unique to have your younger years captured on The Hills and The City. Did you watch the shows? Have you rewatched them recently?

WP: We’d get the episodes the weekend before they aired, so I’d watch with whoever I was with, my family or my friends, just once, and then I wouldn’t watch it again. Sometimes we’d watch it when it aired on Monday night. Since then I’ve only watched a couple episodes of The City with my youngest sister. I haven’t gone through and done a whole marathon. I don’t know if I can handle it.

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Port and Conrad on a red carpet in 2009

IFN: Do you remember what you thought about Lauren Conrad’s style when you first met her?

WP: Her style has evolved so much. We were both your typical California girls and not very polished. As time evolved, her look became a bit more feminine, classic, and really polished. Mine evolved into a more funky, street-y, colorful kind of thing. In the beginning, our fashion game was not great.

IFN: Were there any pieces you wore a lot on either show that you still wear now?

WP: I was constantly trying to wear different things because we were always filming. The hard thing was trying to wear something different. There is a pair of earrings that I used to wear all the time that I wish I had now, but can’t find. They were these gold starfish earrings that I remember wearing a lot for some episodes, and I think I lost them.

IFN: Between you and Lauren, Olivia Palermo, and Emily Weiss, the show has a lot of alums who have been successful in the fashion world. Does that surprise you?

WP: Not at all. The producers chose girls that had vision and unique style, so I’m not surprised that everyone turned out to do something cool in the industry. I’m really proud of everyone and feel like we’ve done things with the opportunities we’ve been given. I see Olivia now and I’m like, “Damn, can she style me?” She looks so good all the time. I don’t know how she does it. People will ask me if she has a stylist and I don’t know—she always looked that perfect when we were filming. It goes without saying how awesome Lauren’s career has been. Emily and I only filmed a little bit together when I was at Teen Vogue and we were both really young, but she’s doing cool things and I’m not surprised.

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Whitney Port tank, $34

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Whitney Port column dress, $65

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Whitney Port sleeveless sweater, $40

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Whitney Port skirt, $35

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Whitney Port joggers, $48

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Whitney Port leggings, $40

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