The History of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors

~ Embellishing the West Since 1947 ~

Nudie Cohn was born in Kiev, Russia in 1902. He decided he would become a tailor, and became a good one! He was the first man to put rhinestones on clothing - it all began in the early 1930's.

While traveling cross country, he came to a boarding house in Mankato, Minnesota. There he not only received room and board, but found his future bride Bobbie; during their stay in Minnesota they had their only daughter, Barbara. They left Mankato to travel back to New York, where they spent most of their time - that story is one in itself! Nudie started off making G-strings for burlesque showgirls in NYC, working his way up to become The Rhinestone Cowboy.


. . .

Nudie and Bobbie moved to California in the early 1940's and started making clothes out of their garage. Spade Cooley, Cliffie Stone, Lefty Frizzell, and Tex Williams & his band all gave him a chance, which set him well on his way. Nudie and Bobbie decided that before they could talk to any more clients, they needed to set up a shop. So off they went, with the help of their friends, to the corner of Victory and Vineland in North Hollywood, CA.

They first approached Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in the early 1950's and eventually became their custom tailors, suiting them for every appearance and becoming their personal friends. In 1957, Nudie made Elvis Presley's famous $10,000 gold lame suit. Colonel Parker, Elvis' manager, became a very close friend of Nudie's; they spent many afternoons doing lunch and shooting the breeze.

In 1963, they moved to their famous location on Lankershim Blvd. There Nudie continued to clothe everybody who was anybody... including John Wayne, Gene Autry, Cher, John Lennon, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, Robert Mitchum, Pat Buttram, Tony Curtis, Michael Landon, Glenn Campbell, Hank Snow, and Hank Williams Sr. Nudie dressed groups such as America, Chicago, ZZ Top, and the Flying Burrito Bros. - Gram Parsons wore the famous marijuana leaf Nudie suit, a spectacular Nudie original.

Nudie had a style all his own! He strutted around town in rhinestone suits, which he wore with unmatched boots to commemorate his humble beginnings - so as to not forget that at one time, he could not even afford a matching pair of shoes. Quite a man I'd say! To add to his flashy style, Nudie designed a fleet of eighteen silver-studded, gun-toting, cattle-stampeding custom automobiles. Distributed throughout the nation, Nudie left one car behind, the 1975 Cadillac El Dorado, for his bride Bobbie to ride off into the sunset. In 1975, Nudie and some of his closest friends put together his famous album entitled "Nudie and His Mandolin".

Nudie died at the age of 81 in 1984. Dale Evans was there to give his eulogy, and everyone he had ever clothed was there to pay their respects to his wife Bobbie, their daughter, their grandchildren, and family. After Nudie's death, Bobbie was determined to continue the tradition, and succeeded with pride and joy. In 1989, their only daughter Barbara died of cancer, at the young age of 52. Despite this, Bobbie continued on with the help of her granddaughter Jamie.

Bobbie and Jamie continued to run the store until 1994; at the age of 81, Bobbie decided to close the doors to spend some time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Bobbie passed away at the age of 92 in 2006, and is remembered as the original Rhinestone Cowgirl.

We, the Nudie family, take great pride in having been able to give the world a piece of our artistry, as well as our hearts!!! We thank you, our loyal customers and devoted friends, for making us a part of history.

Best Regards
~ Jamie Nudie

Visit our blog, Nudie News!

To see fabulous vintage Nudie Suits, visit our Vintage page.