Manuel Cuevas is a living legend in music fashion. Now 78 years old, he has crafted iconic outfits for Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, and Dolly Parton. He’s also the person who turned Johnny Cash into “the man in black.”
When he was 7, Manuel learned to sew from eldest brother, Adolfo, who was a tailor in Coalcomán, Mexico. In just one day, Manuel was able to make himself a shirt and a pair of pants. He even designed a white suit for his first communion.CuevasExtra5Manuel recognized that making clothes was meant to be his vocation and, in the late 1950s, came to the United States to pursue his calling. Settling in Nashville, Tennessee, Manuel would make a name for himself as the “Rhinestone Rembrandt,” decorating his creations with intricate rhinestone designs and embroidery.

At StoryCorps in Nashville, he spoke with his daughter Morelia about his career.


Originally aired March 31, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top photo: Manuel in his workshop. Photo courtesy of  @manuelcouture.
Second photo: Manuel with Johnny Cash. Courtesy of Morelia Cuevas.
Third photo: Manuel’s designs. 
Photos courtesy of  @manuelcouture
Bottom photo: Morelia with her father, Manuel. Courtesy of Morelia Cuevas.