Gram Parsons' Nudie Jacket, Gram Parsons' Nudie Suit: A Rendition of The Original

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Gram Parsons' Nudie Suit: A Rendition of The Original

Gram Parsons was a singer, song writer, guitar player & pianist that had been a member of several bands including the International Submarine Band, The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It wasn’t until after his death, however, that he was recognized as being one of the founders of country rock and alt-country. 

The suit that Gram had designed for himself has been interpreted as a sort of eerie timeline leading up to his death. With the pills, marijuana leaves, poppy flowers and nudes symbolizing the downward spiral that caused his death, the cholo cross on the back and the flames running up the legs of his pants foreseeing his friends’ drunken act of attempting to cremate his body. All displaying his teetering between sinfulness and faith.

Parsons' suit was hand stitched by Manuel Cuevas, Nudie Cohen's protégé, who has called the suit "a map for him to follow to his death." Since Gram's death, there have been many tributes to him in the form of albums, movies, concerts and plays. A more recent tribute to Gram Parsons was in the form of a theatrical concert that was written to show a more romantic portrayal of the artist when he was at the top of his game and the time leading up to his tragic demise.


Grievous Angel: The Legend of Gram Parsons

We were contacted by Michael Bate, a well known Canadian Businessman and Entrepreneur, to create a suit for the theatrical concert he co wrote, produced and directed, Grievous Angel: The Legend of Gram Parsons. With respect to the original designers of Gram Parsons’ legendary suit, Nudie Cohn and Manuel Cuevas, it didn’t seem right to create a total replica/knock-off of the original. We wanted to create a recognizable image of the original, but not a total re-creation. There was a frequent exchange of ideas, concerns and sketches between ourselves and Mr. Bate, that in the end, turned into the final masterpiece that was worn by Anders Drerup, the man who played Gram Parsons.

When designing the jacket, we were initially going to create an entire suit, like the original, but decided to make just a jacket. We wanted to capture the recognizable image of the suit but give it a unique look as well. We added a Joshua Tree to the back in place of the cross because it would first off be too similar to the original if we put the cross on the back and secondly because Gram’s body was burned in Joshua Tree California so the tree was rather symbolic in that way. We also added the Telecaster because it was one of the instruments he played. We kept most all of the other elements, just placed them in different locations and changed the look of them. One important embellishment we had to include was the rhinestones.

We started out with various sketches of the jacket. This was the final approved sketch, but we ended up making a few more necessary changes to the jacket as it was worked on.


This is the poster that was created for the concert, based off the original sketch.

Grievous Angel; The Legend of Gram Parsons is a theatrical concert about the life and tragic death of the late Gram Parsons.

While sketches and ideas were being exchanged, we sent off a jacket to be fitted to Anders before we began production of the actual jacket.

Once most of the details were ironed out, we began embroidering all the components of the jacket to be assembled after.


Then came the task of applying all the rhinestones.....all 570 of them.


The jacket was then assembled and sent off for the event.

Nathan Turk, Rodeo Ben, Nudie Cohn and Manuel Cuevas are some of the most renowned western tailors in the history of fashion. However, among many aficionados of western wear, country/western music, rock ‘n' roll and show business, the nomenclature for flamboyant suits decorated with extravagantly embroidered themed images and rhinestones is "Nudie Suits".

If you are interested in custom western wear, rock ‘n’ roll or rockabilly clothing or “flamboyant suits decorated with extravagantly embroidered themed images and rhinestones” please contact us:

CALL 315-733-1992
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Crooked Brook
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Utica, New York 13501
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