Alberta clothing company lets political junkies wear their passion

A new Alberta-based business launched Monday is hoping to be a conversation started for political junkies of all stripes.

Calgary-based duo looking to spark conversations about diversity in politics

Business partners Marcie Hawranik and Sarah Elder-Chamanara launched the Madame Premier clothing line Monday. (Sarah Elder-Chamanara)

Some people would consider it an insult to be called a polinerd — online shorthand for political nerd.

Others are proud to wear their love of politics on their sleeves … or on their chests, literally.

Two Alberta women have launched a clothing line that invites political junkies of all stripes to let the world know about their passion for politics. 

On Monday Sarah Elder-Chamanara and Marcie Hawranik launched Madame Premier. The company sells what it calls ethically produced, gender-neutral clothing. 

Shirts in the company's Election Collection are emblazoned with messages like #PoliNerd, #Goknockdoors or Political AF (ask a millennial to define AF for you).

Shirts and sweaters are for men and women. The collection is rounded out with infant and toddler onesies and T-shirts, some of which declare the miniature wearer a Future Prime Minister.

The two women say they came up with the idea over a cup of coffee and it ties together their backgrounds which are, according to the website, "heavily rooted in politics, community-building, feminism and design."

Elder-Chamanara also said they noticed a gap in the market. 

"So, Madame Premier was born through conversation and the identification of the need to start conversations around the lack of women in politics at all levels," she told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Monday.

Hawranik told the radio show that the brand is particularly timely. 

"We thought the name was very topical given that there are no female premiers currently in Canada." There's also a federal election coming up in October.

Elder-Chamanara, who designs the shirts, said the most popular item on the first day of sales was the Woman's Place shirt that reads: "A woman's place is in" followed by a list that includes council chambers, the Legislature, the House of Commons and the Senate.

"I'm being kind of motivated or inspired by what's happening in the states as well as what's happening here in Canada," Elder-Chamanara said. "The need to acknowledge that there is a lack of representation of gender and diversity at different levels of government in Canada."

The two women have ties to several political parties, and they wanted their products to be similarly "multi-partisan," according to Hawranik. 

"All of the models that we have on the website are kind of recognizable from a variety of different political parties … we wanted it to be as politically diverse as possible because this issue needs to be tackled by everyone. It's not just an issue for one party." 

Late in the day Monday the company said on Twitter that some sizes of some designs had sold out.


Tricia Kindleman


Tricia Kindleman has spent her life in Alberta. She grew up in Edmonton and attended Mount Royal College, now university, in Calgary. She has worked in newsrooms in Edmonton and Grande Prairie.