By StyleWatch
Updated March 02, 2010 05:12 PM

Credit: Bauer-Griffin

Nicole Richie may have once been a rabble-rousing reality-television star on FOX’s The Simple Life alongside pal Paris Hilton, but the recently engaged fashionista wants to make one thing clear: she’s transitioned into a serious fashion designer. “The Simple Life started when I was 19 [and my] self-image has changed so much since then,” she tells WWD. “[Building credibility in fashion] has been pretty organic in the sense that I’m finding out who I am as a woman and what I like and don’t like.” The star, whose jewelry line House of Harlow and clothing line Winter Kate are both named after her first-born daughter, explains that she’s always wanted to be a designer. “There wasn’t a day when I just woke and said, ‘I’m ready to do this,'” she says. “I knew in the back of my mind that this was something I wanted to do when I grew up.” Even when she’s not designing, the 28-year-old says she enjoys shopping and dressing up her own children off-duty. “Kids are so easy because everything’s comfortable,” she says. “Sparrow, has the cutest little baby booties, [and Harlow] likes ballet flats.” Just don’t expect Richie to pick out apparel for her new fiancé, Joel Madden. “[Men’s fashion] is such a different world and something I know nothing about. If I said ‘Vans,’ he’d probably be like, ‘No, no. It’s Nike.’ So, it’s better not to even to go there.”— David Yi