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Whitney Port Out to Prove Something with First Solo Runway Show

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When it was announced in January that Whitney Port would be showing at New York Fashion Week, the designer herself had only just learned of the news. “I started organizing this maybe a month and a half ago,” she tells PEOPLE. “The collection that I was doing was already being done, because obviously I’d do it anyway, but we decided pretty last minute we wanted to be part of Fashion Week.”

Now, the budding designer is in the final stages of preparation (her Whitney Eve show is Wednesday morning; it will livestream on’s YouTube channel), fitting models, selecting music, approving hair, makeup and nail decisions and figuring out what to wear.

“I’m waiting to see what the looks are like for the show,” she reveals. “I don’t want to take anything from the show, so I’ll pick up the pieces and put something together.”

The fall 2012 Whitney Eve collection is derived in part from a kaleidoscope Port found in her grandmother’s home. “I was looking at it, and was inspired by the prints and colors,” she says. “But it’s also based on what kind of girl I feel like I’ve grown to be the past couple years.”

Port launched her line in 2008, in the midst of her run on MTV’s The Hills — and ever since, has felt she has something to prove. “I want to show people I’m really in this to create a great fashion line,” she says. “There’s this thought that people on TV just put their names on lines and it’s not something they’re passionate about. For me, I’ve always wanted to do this, since day one. Being on TV was just this added thing that I kind of fell into.”

While Whitney Eve is still “a small, boutiquey line,” Port says she’s hoping her turn at Fashion Week will inspire buyers, editors and shoppers alike. “I’d love to see more girls wearing it on the street,” she reveals.

And regardless of how her show goes — “I’m pretty nervous,” she admits — she’ll have some very big fans waiting for her backstage. “My parents are here, my sister and my brother are here, another sister’s coming,” she shares. “They’re here to support.”

–Kate Hogan