The Fresh List: BRRCH Floral
Twenty-six-year-old floral designer Brittany Asch is refreshing the notion of traditional blooms and bouquets with her youthful and creative take on floral arrangements. We chatted with the Brooklyn-based founder of BRRCH about her favorite flowers, her influences, and just how one breaks into the world of floristry. Words Katie Gregory. Photographs by Katie McCurdy.
Have you always been passionate about flowers?
Floral arrangements were definitely not something I was "passionate" about, but I have always loved flowers, plants and paintings of flowers. I was just so completely preoccupied with other endeavors growing up and the only florist in town was this small shop in a really sterile room that was not appealing to me in any way.
So how did you get to where you are today?
I was raised on this track to be in some aspect of the entertainment industry. Acting class every Friday, dance lessons probably eight hours a week after school, singing lessons one hour every week, the whole shebang. I was being groomed, as they say. I had a change of heart after attending Berklee College of Music and felt like there was something else I should be doing, not because I didn't love music but because I didn't love the industry. When I realized that I could actually work with flowers in an artistic way and that it was a job, it totally knocked me over and I was hooked. I am glad I discovered it when I did, though. My previous experiences have definitely played a big role in the work that I do and the way I create. Life moves you in very unexpected ways. Maybe one day I'll be in a biopic about a florist who sings and it will all make sense.
Who or what inspires your floral arrangements?
Different things depending on the day. Japan, the UK, France, the jungle. The ethereal and the fantastical. Royalty and rock & roll. Decadence and grit. I'm super inspired by Tim Walker, Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson and so many others.
How would you recommend someone interested in floral design get started?
If you're in a city, go to your local flower shop or bodega and buy some stems you like and arrange them in a way that pleases you. If you're not in a city, go walk in your backyard or on the side of the road and pick some things. The only way to get started is by actually doing it. I'd say that goes with everything. You should also get used to heavy lifting.
Any other floral designers you admire?
I really like Azuma Makoto’s work. I freelanced on a job with Thierry Boutemy once and he is a force, too. There’s a ton of really talented designers out there. Exciting times for the world of floristry.
What are some of your favorite flowers to use for spring?
Magnolia, dogwood, fritillaria meleagris, bearded iris, greens, and all of the flowering branches.
What is your favorite flower?
Probably an heirloom garden rose or water lily. But I can't really commit to just one flower. I really love blushing bride protea, forget-me-nots... I just had to stop myself from naming 50 more flowers. I'm not a favorites kind of girl, never have been.
Best smelling flower?
An heirloom garden rose, for sure. True tuberose is intoxicating as well.
What's the “It” flower of the moment?
I feel like the peony is the eternal "It" girl. She's just so agreeable. I've yet to meet a person that says, "I hate peonies." I don't think that person exists. I just made that person up.
Do you have any tips for creating a springtime floral arrangement for a beginner?
Daffodils, daisies, and buttercups. Tie them with a bow.
Where are some good places to source inexpensive flowers?
Bodegas, grocery stores, and farm stands.
Any "dont's" when it comes to floral arrangements?
Don't cut the stems too short. Don't make a dome shape (flowers are meant to be appreciated, not suffocated). But the most helpful “don't” tip I can give to any aspiring florist is this: Don't follow all of the rules of arranging. Make your own.
Fake flowers: Can they ever be done right?
Have you seen that Alexander McQueen dress covered in flowers? That is an example of fakes done right. I'd say yes.
Is baby’s breath totally not cool anymore?
I think until recently baby's breath was really the opposite of cool, but it's currently having an underdog renaissance. I appreciate that. You go get 'em, baby's breath.