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

Homeless deaths in Surrey quadruple between 2007 and 2016

Deaths in the city spiked in 2015 from the previous year

South Surrey firefighters rescue cat from tree

The cat ‘got himself a little too high for comfort’

Surrey’s truck survey closes Sunday

‘Sustainable solutions for authorized commercial truck parking’ sought

Sunny’s Bridal in Surrey to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week

Business got its start in south Vancouver in the 1990s

Surrey forensic nurse says vote Early, vote often

If Sheila Early wins YWCA award, Scotiabank will donate $10K to violence prevention services program for women

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

North Delta happenings: week of March 21

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read