Kate Hogan
August 19, 2011 05:30 PM

Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup

If the cast of The Hills ever reunites for a movie version of the MTV series, Whitney Port will certainly have a lot to share with her former costars. The designer has been working on a spring 2012 collection she plans to debut in September at Fashion Week and Fashion’s Night Out.

“I do custom prints, so I have a lot of watercolor things going on,” Port told PEOPLE this summer at the Vans Warped Tour in Carson, Calif. “[It’s] really colorful and really a mix of business sophisticate with a funky street-girl aesthetic — the good mix of L.A. and New York vibes.”

The Southern California native is certainly attuned to both coasts’ fashion vibes after living in N.Y.C. for a year working on her Whitney Eve line. But now that she’s back on the West Coast, her personal style is already shifting.

“Right now I’m in a very casual T-shirt and jeans kind of moment,” she said from the To Write Love on Her Arms booth. “Being in L.A. after living in New York for a year, it’s been really easy to just not care as much — especially since I’m not on camera all the time. I like to keep it pretty casual if I don’t have to dress up for anything.”

Of her ideal client, Port said, “She’s a girl who’s career oriented and motivated but also likes to have a good time, someone who works hard and plays hard.”

The Whitney Eve girl doesn’t sound like much of a stretch from the designer, who has been dedicating herself to her burgeoning line since The Hills wrapped last year. “I’m just pretty much devoting all my time to my line and trying to become a better designer and learn the whole trade and then doing little things like this on the side,” she shared.

Case in point: Port joined the To Write Love on Her Arms movement as an ambassador earlier this year and contributed her skills as a designer by hosting a T-shirt design contest and handpicking the winner. (The organization gives hope and help to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.) She then helped sell the winning shirt at Warped Tour.

“I thought it was really cute and quirky, and I really liked the message,” she explained of the winning design, which reads: ‘You’re always beautiful.’ “I think that obviously everyone is always beautiful, and I just thought the drawing was really cute.”

Being able to participate in the design process for the shirt was also appealing to the fashionista, who says she enjoyed being able to pick the winner. “Because I have a clothing line, it was easy to do this kind of contest,” she said. “I like to see the people enter and see all the creativity that’s out there that people don’t necessarily have an outlet to put through, so I just thought the whole idea was really cool.”

Pick up the winning T-shirt ($18) for a limited time at twloha.com.

–Jessica Wedemeyer


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