Nicole Richie on the pressures of a design career as she unveils cut-price Macy"s line

'You're only as good as your last season': Nicole Richie on the pressures of a design career as she unveils cut-price Macy's line

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UPDATED:

13:53 GMT, 22 August 2012

You know her by the sunglasses she always has with her. You know her from TV, and you might know her from the tabloids, too, but Nicole Richie isn't convinced any of it works for or against her when it comes to building her design career.

She guided aspiring designers on the fashion competition show Fashion Star, and says she sees success in the fashion business as either potentially intense and fleeting, or broad-based and sustained. It's up to the work you do – and doing it consistently, she says.

'You're only as good as your last season,' she says.

Nicole Richie posing with clothing from her limited-edition collection for Macy's

Pressure: Nicole Richie, posing with clothing from her limited-edition collection for Macy's, admits that a fashion designer is only as good as her last season

Richie, it seems, is banking on a big fall season. That's when her limited-edition collection for Macy's contemporary department debuts, and she also stars in the ads.

Richie, 30, isn't an industry novice. She's gained recognition for her lines Winter Kate and House of Harlow, but the Nicole Richie for Impulse collaboration, best described as contemporary clothes styled with Richie's bohemian flair, is her greatest exposure yet.

The clothes, including maxi dresses, asymmetrical skirts, cropped tops and fitted jackets in an array of jewel tones and prints, will be in 100 stores and available online starting September 12.

She hasn't taken the task lightly.

'Well, my main focus just
with everything that I design is to really get to know the customer,
and I spend a lot of time doing that,' she says.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

Strike a pose: The former reality star, 30, models in the ads for her Macy's line, which hits stores next month

Nicole Richie

Signature style: The designs are in keeping with her Seventies aesthetic and feature a bold peacock print

'I'm
traveling all year just with various appearances that I do for Winter
Kate and House of Harlow, and the reason that I do these appearances is
because I really get to come face-to-face with my customer, and as I'm
watching them in the store I can see what pieces they're wearing, I can
see what they're drawn to, what people's favorite pieces are and people
are always wanting to tell me a story of how they got that ring or that
bracelet, or how they wear their tops or their sunglasses.

'There
are times that I do look a hot mess and I guess I probably should
work on making myself a little more put together at all times. It's a
work in progress'

'That's something that I pay attention to and that I really take into consideration whenever I'm designing the next collection.'

However, she doesn't do the hard sell.
She likes to see women make their look their own instead of doling out
advice or drawing attention to how she's worn a certain style before.

'It's such an honor any time I'm
driving down the street or I'm at school and I see your everyday woman
just wearing a piece from my collection, that's something that's so
special,' she says.

'You
know it's something that it really touches me in a way that nothing
else has before because they went out and they bought that piece and I'm
extremely grateful. Quietly grateful.'

Nicole Richie

Show some skin: Faux leather was another theme of the line, from statement sleeves to a sleek shift

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

Modest: Richie claims she is not always picture-perfect… Though the Macy's campaign suggest otherwise

Meeting
Richie, one gets the feeling that although she grew up in the spotlight
as the daughter of Lionel Richie and co-starred with Paris Hilton in
the reality show The Simple Life, she doesn't mind working behind the
scenes. Her celebrity and family connections have opened some doors, but
Richie says she wants to work for the glory.

'It's important to always be a student on
some level,' she says. 'It's important to always keep your ear to the
ground and constantly be surrounding yourself with people that inspire
you and people that have a good work ethic and I don't think you should
ever hit a place where you feel that there is nothing left to learn.'

Getting glammed up is part of her
job, but Richie, who has two young children, Harlow and Sparrow, says
she's not always picture-perfect. She carries the big round sunglasses
she's famous for as well as bobby pins wherever she goes for a quick
transformation. (Richie says she's a master at a quick hair braid.)

'There
are often times that I do look a hot mess and I guess I probably should
work on making myself a little more put together at all times. It's a
work in progress.'

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

Fall trends: Jewel tones and intricate prints are the main focus of the collection, Richie says

Not on this day. Her hair is just-right wavy, and she's wearing a peacock feather-print dress from the Impulse line. 'I would say that jewel tones and intricate prints are the main focus of this collection but I also worked with faux-leathers and lace,' she says.

Her fall shopping list includes leather pants. Yes, she says, more women than you might think can pull off leather pants.

'I love a good pullover but I think that every girl wants to be able to put on a pullover but not look so sloppy'

Of course, they'll need boots, she says.

She'll also replenish her pullover sweaters, including the colorblocked one from her collection. 'I love a good pullover but I think that every girl wants to be able to put on a pullover but not look so sloppy. This pullover, it's actually pretty cropped and still very structured but extremely comfortable at the same time and I worked a lot with colorblocking just to give it a little bit of a punch.'

It also looks nice with leather pants, she says with a smile.

She won't build her wardrobe around trends, because there might not be enough room for her favorite things, Richie says.

'I never get rid of something because it's old. I wear things with holes in them like all the time. But I do like to get rid of things just to kind of keep my closet fresh. But most of the time I'm donating. I'm not just throwing clothes away. But I'm a Virgo; I'm pretty organized so I like to keep my closet pretty clean.'

A LOOK AT THE REST OF THE NICOLE RICHIE FOR MACY'S COLLECTION…

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse

Nicole Richie's collection for Macy's Impulse