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

Abbotsford man gets 9 months for pilfering $36,000 from Mission gun shop

Tyson Gamberg worked as shipper at High Calibre Services Corp.

Company’s ‘toxic’ stench at Abbotsford school prompts district’s appeal to Ministry of Education for help

Enforcement centered on voluntary compliance has “no teeth” while kids become sick

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

Abbotsford owner’s dog to be featured on Jones Soda bottle

Yogi, 10, set to appear on the company’s beverages in the near future

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read