SOMETIMES YOU NEED A NEW direction. A clean slate. A fresh start. That’s the feeling that prompted Danita Short to quit her job as an E.R. nurse in Canada and move to Los Angeles. For her next act, she envisioned founding a clothing label—despite her lack of formal fashion training.
Her vision came to life when she met Christian Juul Nielsen, a former design director for Oscar de la Renta and designer for Christian Dior Couture. At their first meeting in the fall of 2016, Short described her love for practical, unfussy clothing and hitting the road on her motorcycle; Nielsen knew how to translate her passions into biker-chic apparel. By the end of the conversation, their clothing line, Land of Distraction, was born.
Despite what its name suggests, Land of Distraction has a decidedly focused vision. “Our brand lies in the energy of the seventies,” Short says. There’s a free-spirited yet functional charm to its mustard, burnt orange, and rose pink palette and affinity for all things corduroy. While Short’s the first to admit she’s a fashion newcomer, she has proved a quick study. Short and Nielsen collaborate on the unifying theme for each collection, and Nielsen takes over the sketch-to-production design.
Nielsen’s couture background is evident in the line’s construction: f lared trousers with contrasting stitching; V-neck, low-back velvet slipdresses with delicate piping. It’s a level of detail that’s almost unheard-of for its price point. (The line, available on the brand’s website and at select Barneys New York stores, starts at $40 for tees.) For Nielsen, who has since taken the reins at Hervé Léger as well, it’s a nice change of pace. “The dresses I did in Paris would cost up to 200,000 euros,” he says. Creating a brand that was accessible for many of his friends was “kind of a dream come true.”
Land of Distraction’s spring collection brings in sparkle and embroidery but remains true to its core with pieces like a hooded wool coat that’s oversize, utilitarian, a little boyish. The kind of jacket you’d throw on just before revving up your motorcycle.