Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez Sr. or just Manuel (born April 23, 1933 in Coalcomán Michoacán, Mexico) is a designer best known for the garments he created for prominent rock and roll and country music acts.
After nearly 40 years in Los Angeles, Manuel Cuevas decided he needed a change. He moved his growing business and growing family (second wife Susan, and three children Morelia, Manny Jr., and Jesse-Justin) to Nashville, Tennessee. "I wanted to see the kids grow healthy and safe, and L.A. started to get a little too tight for me, and too complicated. I am thankful for my time there though because that was the place where I made my career flourish."
Cuevas's new design space (located at 1922 Broadway) was as equally historical as his designs. An old Victorian house near Nashville's Music Row was four stories; three were designated for work space with the main floor designated as a showroom and retail space. While in Nashville, with encouragement from the public, Cuevas became interested in designing for the every-day client. In 1989, with the popularity of the California Jacket worn by long-time friend and client Dwight Yoakam, Cuevas offered a limited-edition, similar version of the Hillbilly Deluxe jacket in his Nashville showroom.
After moving to Nashville, in the late 1990s, Manuel began creating his 50 State Jacket Collection as his gift back to the United States. He researched details from each of the fifty states to create the one-of-a-kind collection. The collection debuted in 2005 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Cuevas says the goal is to eventually donate each state's jacket to that state's museum after it has toured the United States and internationally as a collection.
In 2005, in an effort to design for the "average Joe", Cuevas worked with his son Manny Jr. to create a men's and women's luxury, ready-to-wear clothing line featured at New York Fashion Week in 2006. The limited-piece collection was manufactured in Italy and was the first and only time that Manuel produced any clothing outside of the United States.
After 25 years at 1922 Broadway, Manuel decided he needed to be closer to downtown Nashville and more open to the public. Manuel American Designs opened its new 3,100-square-foot retail space located at the corner of 8th and Broadway, a foot-traffic-heavy spot close to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Lower Broadway honkytonks.