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

Cubetto teaches kids the building blocks of coding

Fraser Valley Regional Library’s wooden robot coming to Maple Ridge in May

Toothpick speech a Toastmasters win for Pitt man

Stefano Cossalter won the district-level contest.

Along the Fraser: Concerns kokanee smolts left high, dry

Low water level at Alouette Lake due to cold, dry weather.

A Maple Ridge family’s quest to help youth by the dozen

The Garretts are selling eggs with profits going to Foundry Ridge Meadows

ARMS worried about low lake level

Fears thousands of kokanee smolts could be lost.

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Most Read