Newfoundland Dog Company aims to showcase Gander and area through clothing

·3 min read

Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander.

As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture.

“We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright.

When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown.

As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up.

“It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.”

Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design.

They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more.

They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line.

“We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright.

They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them.

The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.”

With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world.

Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time.

That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown.

After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area.

It was launched on June 04, 2017.

“It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon.

Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war.

The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up.

A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport.

There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s

One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day.

The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas.

“It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.”

Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander.

“We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright.

Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice