Coun. Les Barkman’s campaign shirt drew plenty of comments – and maybe even some votes – during the 2014 council race.

Bold fashion statement pays off for B.C. council candidate

Colourfal shirt may have begun new fashion campaign strategy for longtime councillor

There are many ways a politician can stand out from a crowd.

One can proclaim a bold idea, make strong statements, take a contrarian position on a major issue, or act differently from your competitors.

Coun. Les Barkman could already probably tick one or two of those boxes. But over the last month-and-a-half, he received plenty of comments for another eye-catching part of his campaign: his shirt.

If you’ve seen it already, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

The Shirt is a long-sleeved buttoned-up garment. It’s shiny. It’s got funky, swirly lines that loop and dive, make shapes, change colours and separate. And it’s colourful. Oh, is it colourful.

Rainbowish, without quite being a rainbow, The Shirt is home to the brightest, most-tropical versions of green, yellow, orange, magenta (?!) and purple, all fading into one another.

As an incumbent running in a race that favoured returnees, Barkman probably didn’t need the shirt to win. But it clearly didn’t hurt him as he cruised towards his highest vote total ever – an improvement of more than 5,000 from 2014, a year in which he finished second among all council hopefuls.

The Shirt came from New York, which Barkman and his wife visited earlier this year after winning a pair of tickets from WestJet. While in the Big Apple, he stopped in at Portabellas Menswear, a prominent, but not overly expensive, store with an owner beloved by baseball players. After crossing the Canadian border, the $69 (USD) garment mostly stayed in Barkman’s closet until election time, when the incumbent councillor and his wife assembled a handful of outfits before a photo session with Andrew Simpson.

“Andrew’s wife said, ‘Whoa! That’s going to get you [noticed],’ ” said Barkman.

While you may not expect The Shirt to adorn the torso of a large grey-bearded guy with a blue-collar work background, Barkman – who also previously worked in a menswear store – said he isn’t one to be shy about wearing bold shirts.

And he said the fashion ambition plan paid off.

“People would smile at me and give me the thumbs up,” he said. “My neighbour said, ‘My daughter wants to vote for you because of your shirt.’ ”

Indeed, two days after the election, Barkman was already thinking to the future and the next election.

“Look out next time for what I’ll be wearing,” he said.

RELATED: Les Barkman announces plans to run again for council

RELATED: Election results


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Rotary Christmas Parade rolls through downtown Chilliwack

Thousands of kids and adults gathered Saturday night for Chilliwack’s annual Christmas Parade

VIDEO: Christmas Gifts Expo on now at Chilliwack Heritage Park

The annual festive expo features 260 local artisans and small mom-and-pop businesses

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

Transport yourself to medieval time with enchanting Winter Harp in Chilliwack

Winter Harp brings medieval attire, intricately carved instruments, spectacular sounds of Christmas

Council approved rezoning for Eddy at the Bridge development

Public hearing on Dec. 3 saw host of speakers both for and against the commercial development

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – BB King at the Chilliwack SPCA

BB King is a three-year-old male stray cat who’s up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

Most Read