People call me Your Worship…which is a little awkward. You can call me Colin.”
When I meet Kelowna’s charismatic and stylish youngest-ever mayor at his office to chat about life and style, I quickly realize he isn’t lacking in either department.
Born and raised in Kelowna, Colin was educated in broadcast journalism at BCIT and came back to Kelowna as a TV reporter for Global Television Network.
“I was able to get a job out of school in the city that I was born and raised in; it was awesome. I thought, ‘how can it get any better than this?’ Well, clearly it can.”
Eventually he got into politics, first as a city councillor and then a mayor in 2014 —replacing a person who was exactly twice his age.
Asked what nugget of his work really gets him fired up, he said, “If people were to see the amount of reading necessary to prepare for council meetings, they would likely think it’s pretty boring, but I love policy! In the last three and a half years, I’ve become a real urban planning geek; I’ve really learned how urban design can impact mental and physical health. So what I’m passionate about is people living in neighbourhoods that are higher density, closer to work, closer to where the amenities are and closer to good transit. In this way, we can really change how people live.”
What innate quality has led to his success?
“Nobody who has known me for a long time is surprised by what I’m doing because I’ve always instinctively taken a leadership role. I’m a firm believer that if you want something done or want to see something move in a particular way, you get involved. I’ve always been that person who’s ‘in the know’ which is probably why journalism is a natural for me. And it’s to a whole new level as mayor, because now I really know what’s going on in this city.”
During our meeting we had to pause briefly so that a group of school children could meet with the mayor and ask him questions. As they filed by me into his office, I overhear one young boy whisper to his friend, “He’s wearing a white suit!”
|Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran photographed by Lia Crowe for Boulevard Magazine.
Noting that he clearly rocks his own style, I asked how fashion has played into his life.
“I’ve always loved it, always been drawn to it. Part of me believes I grew up in the wrong era. I was a huge fan of Mad Men and the fashion in that show. I love the skinny suits, skinny ties, good shoes and good scotch. I’m not going to lie: I also love the TV show Miami Vice — the bright colours, the tight rolled pants and no socks. If I had to describe my style I’m like a cross between Mad Men and Miami Vice.”
Asked what’s the best life lesson he’s learned since 40, he said, “I’ve learned to value the friends that I had before I became a politician because they knew me as Colin, the guy who loved to throw a good party. I’ve also learned that although this job is awesome, it doesn’t define me, and it isn’t the most important thing in my life — my family and friends are.”
Uniform: Suit with no tie. Favourite Denim, brand and cut: Nothing fancy here. American Eagle skinny jeans. Current go-to clothing Item: Love a good blazer! Just makes an outfit a bit more sophisticated. Best new purchase: Pink suit from RW & Co. Currently Coveting: A new silver wrist watch. Favourite work tool: Smartphone. Sunglasses: Aviator style — any brand. Scent: Bleu de Chanel. Necessary indulgence: I get a haircut every two weeks. Who cuts your hair: Carolin Biafore from Mirror Mirror Salon and Spa.
Iconic Celebrity who inspires your style: John F. Kennedy. Favourite artist: Gord Downie. Favourite Film or TV show you love for its style: Mad Men and Miami Vice. Last great read: The Happy City by Charles Montgomery. Book currently reading: Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter. Favourite book of all time: Hammer of the Gods, The Led Zeppelin Saga by Stephen Davis. Favourite Cocktail/Wine: An Old Fashioned or scotch (neat) and any red wine will do! Album on current rotation: From the Fires by Greta Van Fleet. “If you’ve not heard of them yet, you should!” Favourite Musician: Dave Grohl. Favourite City to Visit: New York. Favourite App: Instagram. Hotel: Grand Wailea. Favourite place in the whole world: Kelowna, baby!
-Story and photograph by Lia Crowe