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Manuel | The father and son team of Manuel and Manuel, Jr. will be collaborating on the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear lines for Manuel Exclusive. Manuel brings his 52 years of experience as the master of cowboy couture to a retail collection aimed at dressing people worldwide. Manuel’s list of celebrity clients reads like an expansive history of American pop culture: Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, the Rat Pack, James Dean, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Sonny and Cher, REM…the list goes on and on. Not only did Manuel design the clothes for this dazzling array of performers, he also had a principle role in creating their timeless images. Now, for the first time, Manuel’s intricate and flamboyant designs will be streamlined into a more affordable ready-to-wear collection. With Manuel overseeing the line as Creative Director and co-designer, Manuel, Jr. will apply the design skills he has learned over the years to the Manuel Exclusive brand. Born in 1972, Manuel, Jr. was born and raised in North Hollywood and the Taluca Lake area. He started sewing at the age of 6, with Manuel’s employees watching over him to take care that he didn’t stick his fingers with the needle. By age 7 he was doing it by himself and Manuel’s boot maker, Jose Mendes, tutored him in the crafts of leatherworking, tooling and boot stitching and cutouts. Manuel, Jr's dad also instructed him on the art of hat blocking. Every day after school, Manuel, Jr. would come to his dad’s shop and after finishing his chores he would work on his own creations – leather wallets, purses and other accessories. These were sold in Manuel’s shop and the sales money became Manuel, Jr’s allowance. After college, Manuel went on hiatus from the business and worked in landscaping as a tree surgeon in California. When his dad moved to Nashville, Manuel, Jr. followed him there shortly afterwards and, after continuing his career as a landscaper, decided to return to the job he loved the most: collaborating on cowboy couture creations with his dad. “I never thought I would be this involved in the business as I am now”, says Manuel, Jr. “I’ve been living and collaborating with my dad for fourteen years now and I’ve found the passion and love for what I do.” The pair collaborated on many designs, including the embroidered suit Bob Dylan wore when he performed for the Pope and the Star-Spangled Couture collection. In August 2005, Manuel and Manuel, Jr. met Allen and Kelly Tucker who obtained the license for Manuel Exclusive. “Together, Allen, my dad and I came up for a strategy for the brand”, says Manuel, Jr. “We have a fabulous product and great design. I’m very fortunate to have met Allen and get this thing going in the way that I’ve always dreamed of doing it.” In August, Allen and Manuel, Jr. traveled to Paris, Milan, Florence in London to trend shop and purchase new fabrics. “I found some amazing fabrics and trimmings in these cities and will be incorporating them into the line for Manuel Exclusive”, states Manuel, Jr. “In the collection, you’ll see many elements of Western design and with my ideas and new fabrics, I will be inspired by what my dad has been doing for 52 years and taking it up to a different level. The result will be hip, cool and fun pieces that will appeal to a wide variety of customer.”
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