Nuta Kotlyarenko was known professionally as Nudie Cohn. He credits his unusual Americanized name to an Ellis Island translation. Perhaps it was prophetic, though, as he once worked in New York making burlesque outfits and g-strings. He definitely used his name to his advantage. One of his shops was unintuitively named “Nudies’ Clothing for Women.”
He was once a struggling tailor in California, and he needed sewing machine. He asked his customer and friend, country singer Tex Williams, if he could front some cash for one. In return, he would provide him some clothing. What did Nudie bring to the table? One word: rhinestones.
Nudie’s highly sought after country wear, known as Nudie Suits, would catch the eye of country musicians look to make a statement. They were for singers so confident in their abilities that they had no problem wearing embroidery and sparkling like the stars in the night. It’s your personality summed up in your sleeves and on your pockets. His designs would be worn by everyone from Hank Williams to Gram Parsons and Elvis to Elton John.