There’s nowhere to hide for Whitney Port, as her entire career has been caught on camera. But the fashion designer is proving you don’t need to be cruel to get ahead – even in a cut-throat industry. At 29, despite having no technical training (her degree is in gender studies), Whitney is now the president of her own company, Whitney Eve. She made her New York fashion week debut in 2009, and her clothing and accessories lines are now sold across the world with trunk shows in Bloomingdale’s, and a limited edition collection for Australian label Sportsgirl.
Her 2015 collection, which is as bright as her disposition and features lace yellow camisoles and electric blue shorts with accents of floral and leather, is sold through her website, as well as boutiques across the US and also in Melbourne. Her designs also appear on ASOS and The Iconic. She even appeared as a judge on Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
“It’s been a big decade,” she laughs. “And an even bigger learning curve.” We recently caught up with the designer to take notes on turning a celebrity persona into a reputable fashion label.
SEE YOUR FUTURE
“I firmly believe that if you can picture your future clearly, you can achieve it. That’s why I keep a plethora of Pinterest Boards with visual inspirations. My quote board currently includes, “I know now that we never get over great losses, we absorb them and they carve us into different, often kinder people.” I actually think the biggest source of inspiration is my late father. He was my business partner when we started the line and since he passed away two years ago all I want to do is make him proud and give him something to watch!”
“It can be tough for start-ups in the fashion industry to get funding, which is why I decided to crowd-fund my New York fashion week show a couple of years ago through IndieGogo. When trying to raise funds or find investors, it is important to stay connected with others in your industry and continue to network. It helps just to cold call or email those who you think would be in a position to help you. Make sure you have a very comprehensive review of what your company entails, so you can provide a cohesive and detailed representation of your [brand].”
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
“I’m often asked if I have any rituals or techniques to stay optimistic. Working out definitely helps me get motivated for all that is to come. I mainly switch between spinning and yoga and started going to FlyWheel [the indoor cycling class] about a year ago and fell in love with it. They play music that gets you really pumped up and you walk out of there completely drenched. However, it’s also important to relax and resting at night helps me feel rejuvenated for the day ahead. As a business owner, I’m very aware I don’t want to burn out.”
“I had a bunch of resolutions this year that I’m still working on. I want to become a better decision maker, I also want to show up more for my friends and family, as the past two years have been filled with grief & healing, so I must make time to be there for others (if I can). My other resolutions include; do not procrastinate, be more organised, don’t allow the clutter to take over, and drink more water. Most of all, my number one is to not let my sensitivity overcome me. It is a great thing to be sensitive, but that can be harmful to your soul.”