A Netflix documentary star is traveling to Baton Rouge to tailor his wardrobe

Photo by Sean Gasser

When Manuel Martinez tailors an outfit, he wants it to represent the person wearing it.

But the story of his client Jorge Valdés is one of the most complicated, extraordinary tales he’s woven yet.

In the ’70s, Valdés was the U.S.-based leader of a Colombian drug cartel. Suddenly bringing in millions of dollars a month was quite a change for the then-20-something Valdés, a Cuban immigrant who’d been raised in poverty. But he was also living, as he says, “through hell and back.” He experienced unthinkable torture and ran in the same circles as killers and kidnappers.

Valdés was eventually imprisoned for 10 years. By the time he was released in the mid-’90s, he says he was a changed man. He’d found God and decided to earn a master’s and a Ph.D. studying theology. He wrote a book detailing how he’d turned his life around.

And this past fall, he told his story on an even larger stage: Netflix. Valdés starred in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami.

After the show aired, it wasn’t just Valdés’ story that stunned social media. Valdés was fielding DMs about his navy suits and pink ties, too. One podcast called him “a sharp, sharp dresser.” Viewers wanted to know where he got his clothes.

So Valdés made an Instagram post introducing his followers to his longtime tailor: “It is easy to look good when your tailor, Manuel Martinez of Martinez Custom Clothier … dresses you,” he wrote.

A few weeks after the first episode aired, Valdés is back in Baton Rouge at Martinez’s flagship shop for more fittings with the tailor.

To keep reading about this unexpected Baton Rouge connection, check out the full story from our sister magazine, 225.