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For men's fashion specialist Rick Moorman, work is not actually work, because by calling something work you frame everything. He wrote a book, ended up at Talpa, got his own radio program and nowadays even wanders around the theater with De Vakidioten where he talks about what he experiences in his field. “At a certain point I decided to only do what I like. I make noise, that makes people curious. Once they enter my business, I am proud to say that we are very skilled in helping others.” Text: Susan Poeder
Image: Michiel Laurens

What was your very first job?

“I was about 12 years old when I went to work in a rose nursery on Saturday mornings. As the youngest, I was given the thankless task of cleaning the water jets. To get there I had to crawl through the rose bushes, so my arms looked awful! I earned an astronomical amount of 5 guilders a day there at the time. What I liked most was that at the end of the day I received a bouquet of roses that I then gave to my mother or grandmother.

When I was 15, I started working in a sporting goods store. I played hockey quite well and the owner thought it was useful that there was a talent in the store. I always went there after school and if there was no work, he would make work for me. He pulled over a rack in the warehouse so I could clean it up, haha. He thought it was nice that I was there. My motivation was that I just really enjoyed it.”

What followed next?

“I was destined to enter the profession at an early age by my parents. They then had a tailor's shop at this location on Gelderlandplein. My father said: if you really want this, follow the Trade Training School and then you could take over the store. And then I was 20 and I was done. I said: 'Hey friend, if you just hurry up, I'll take over', to which my father responded: 'Hey friend, you can't do anything yet. Go away.' In fact he said: learn the trade from someone else. I quickly made a career through Jockey International and eventually became director at Van Gils, after which my father asked if I would come back again. My father passed away in '97, which was of course very emotional. My family asked me to come back and take over the business and I made the decision that was perhaps the best of my life. Because I said no. All the time and energy I had put into Van Gils ensured that my heart was still there. My mind told me to go, but when your heart is not aligned with your mind, things go wrong. I also want to pass this on to everyone. I took 3 years to balance the two and I came back in 2000.”

Who was your wheelbarrow?

“My father taught me at an early age: realize that in this profession, fashion is for people, not the other way around. What he actually said: it's about people. If you think about that, it doesn't matter whether you work in a store, are a journalist or a chef. If you realize that we are working with people, then you can't go wrong.

The second person who was my wheelbarrow was Jacques van Gils. When I came for an interview with him, he immediately said: 'Don't forget that we are there for the people.' This was the second time I heard it and I also firmly believe in it.”Rick Moorman and son Dennis Moorman.

Who are you a wheelbarrow for?

"My son. He's already much better than me. I am very impatient, he has the good qualities of his mother and that is patience. So I help him in the things I know and let him go so he can discover things of his own. He's 25 and I'm incredibly proud. How wonderful is it to be able to work with your child? We travel all over the world together. How cool is that?! That is the wheelbarrow on which I have the fattest wheel.”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“I wonder if that is wise. You have become the way you are thanks to your development, your experience. If you were to remove those pitfalls, you would take away all learning moments. I really wouldn't want to do anything else.”