Brittany Asch’s creations have been winning over Instagram (and pop stars like Troye Sivan) since 2013
In a moment when social media is saturated with references to floristry, Brittany Asch’s tender arrangements stand out. With a unique aesthetic that taps into Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, and a desire to “create floral climates from worlds that do not exist”, BRRCH – the New York-based practice Asch set up in 2013 – is already courting independent fashion labels, contemporary beauty brands, and pop stars. Florence Welch, Troye Sivan, and Rihanna have all commissioned Asch for her distinctive creations.
“I kind of get off on the extreme hours; I like to push myself,” she explains of the near dozen projects she took on during New York Fashion Week. These included Rihanna’s debut catwalk outing for Savage x FENTY, a gig which saw Asch’s blooms adorning the likes of Bella Hadid and Paloma Elsesser in one of the whole season’s most talked-about shows. “I want to make sure every ounce of what I can give is given. When I show up, I am all there.”
Asch, who studied at Berklee College of Music before arriving at her current vocation, has a thoroughly fresh approach – during our conversation, she cites both “knowing there are 12 musical notes and the legacy of what’s been created with that,” and her brother’s work in saving birds from becoming endangered as inspirations.
Telling Dazed of her spring collaboration with Florence and The Machine, she explains: “I felt like I cast all these little spells to support her and her band; I thought of the flowers as little cherubs. There was some sort of divine witchcraft at play for that one. It was like they had absorbed all the energy from the band and the room.”
Below, we speak to Brittany about how grief led her to working with flowers, why she doesn’t call herself a florist, and what it was like working with Rihanna.
Would you call yourself a florist?
Brittany Asch: I don't, and I wouldn't. I say I work with flowers, because that is what I am currently consumed by. Florist seems misleading. It makes people think I have a store, or that I am part of the trade where you can order 12 stems as a gesture. I have no interest in occupying my time that way – I have too much to say and too many things I want to explore. I'm really averse to limiting myself to definition or categorisation. I just like making in whatever medium, and right now, I'm with the flowers.
What inspired your working with flowers?
Brittany Asch: I was grieving the abrupt loss of my father, and had no interest in writing music anymore or being vulnerable in any way – I wasn't really all there. It was like I was on a channel with only white noise, and then all of a sudden you hear a voice, and it commands you and you follow it because you’re hypnotised and your defences are down.
How did you come to work with Rihanna on Savage x FENTY?
Brittany Asch: I got an email, and went in for the fittings, and then the show happened. I wasn't sure it was fully happening until it was over and then I cried – I was so tired, but it was also a real moment of like, how is this real life? When I was working at a restaurant, my biggest dream was to pay rent on time and be able to afford a room with a window.
You did the flowers for Troye Sivan’s “Bloom” video too – they were amazing!
Brittany Asch: I loved that one. Bardia (Zeinali, director) asked me to come on board. He really loved this piece I made for a shoot, but wanted me to tailor it so it had its own identity. I was totally free to do my thing; showed up with the flowers and was like, “Okay, where do you want me?”.
Your Instagram is gorgeous. How would you describe your relationship with the platform?
Brittany Asch: I'm really grateful for it most days. It is like this visual diary I can look back on, and it allows my work to be seen by so many people, which in turn brings work. There are confusing moments, where I question if I should stop sharing altogether because of the mimicry – where do you draw the line? What do you have ownership of? I try to focus on all of the benefits it has brought me because they far outweigh anything else.
Who’s your dream client?
Brittany Asch: There are a handful of directors I'd love to work with. Also Grimes. I have so many dreams and projects, I'll probably be haunting you all from my grave, or I'll reincarnate as someone who can finish wherever I leave off.
What’s next for BRRCH?
Brittany Asch: Always 10 things at once. Hopefully directing a music video, getting some photos I took published somewhere and carving out time to write. In May 2019, you can go see John Wick 3 with Keanu (Reeves). I left my flower print all over that one.