Interview with Aya of Flower Couture
by Nicole Wong
Photography by Akko Terasawa
“My subconscious always saw human figures with plants sprouting from their heads.”
Always on a look out for real and raw talent, Astonish is ecstatic to finally found a hidden gem so close to home. An ingenious floral artist with her love for plants and a playful nature, Aya started experimenting with flowers on her roommates one day, and as they say, the rest is history.
ASTONISH: Were there any other earlier influences in your career?
AYA: It all started out with the yearning for a creative environment among my roommates and I, 3 years ago. This spontaneous chemistry later expanded with more like-minded creative individuals who love to create different art projects together. So I guess these collaborative efforts enabled us to bounce our influences off each other.
ASTONISH: Where do you draw your inspirations?
AYA: My major in architecture, and my love for floral design came about the same time. Both of these depended a lot on structure, balance and engineering fundamentals. With the flowers, they gave me more room to play with their natural forms, colors, and structure. Perhaps subconsciously, I was inspired to bring out the beauty of natural forms through architecture knowledge. It’s very much an interactive process that builds around the theme, the subject matter, the cultural or historical relevance, and the people I work with. The spontaneity from different personalities, styles, and ideas all became part of my inspirations.
ASTONISH: Have any of your designs been interpreted from a lucid dream?
AYA: I believe your surroundings and the daily events that happen in your life often impact how and what you think. Whether or not it’s a conscious or subconscious decision, the things in my life provide many sources of inspiration. Dreams may be influenced by realities, and vice versa. What I do is rather surreal. The designs from my dreams could definitely be interrelated somehow.
ASTONISH: Have any of your models lost their patience or complained about the weight of their flower couture?
AYA: Thankfully, all of them are very professional even though some of the flowers weigh a ton! They love to be part of the projects. With that said, the excitement and the enjoyment they get out of the projects outweigh the weight.
ASTONISH: Share with us some of the most fun moments in your flower couture career.
AYA: We always have fun in our projects with the excitement and the positive vibe simply bouncing off everybody. This gave a great source of energy for everyone. The belief in creating a project based on creativity and passion rather than on money, also plays an important fun factor. Not looking at the projects from a business point of view is important too.
I recalled an incident where this little girl who was in the vicinity came to our photo shoot, and started imitating our projects with her own props of teddy bears, umbrellas, flowers and such; while we worked. It was a truly an endearing sight.
I am just thankful that these projects expanded my horizons, and it’s very fulfilling to realize how they have made an impact on others. That to me is the ultimate fun.
ASTONISH: How do you come up with the concepts of each design? Are they based on the seasonality of the flowers available?
AYA: The executional framework definitely starts with the availability of the flowers during the sketching stage, then followed by the theme or the subject matter after. However, there were times when the flowers were available during the sketching stage, but were sold out when it was time for execution. It’s a challenge with time. At that point, being flexible is key, and because modifications from my original designs are mandatory, that inevitably becomes another creative process in the making with problem solving. Sometimes, the modified designs combined with the two concepts turned out better than expected. It’s truly magical! Being surprised is definitely part of the fun too.
ASTONISH: If you were to design flower couture for yourself, what would it look like, and where would you draw the concept?
AYA: I consider myself more of a director who works behind the scenes. I enjoy executing more and when I think of a concept, I base it on the personality of the model. Strangely, it’s difficult to picture myself as the one who gets adorned with the flowers. The only time I would “design flower couture for myself” is when I need to experiment or understand the structure of the flowers, and how the mechanics work before dressing the models. It’s more of a practical need, as the scale of some flower couture is pretty big, and balance is key.
ASTONISH: Where do you see yourself in five years in the flower couture industry?
AYA: I certainly enjoy working with people from different fields, and that not only expanded my horizons but also my creative network. So far I have worked mainly with photographers, makeup artists, fashion stylists, and visual artists on 2-dimensional prints. Ultimately, I would love to challenge storytelling through motion pictures, like a short film, learning from live visual performances. An art piece that is sequence oriented, where the audience can relive the moments of their favorite scenes.
Flower couture started off like a random cosmic force where everything simply put everything into place. There was a natural phenomenal chemistry that brought everything together. I will simply go with the flow, and see what happens next. I am curious to find out where all of this is going!
Don’t forget to check out more of Aya and Flower Couture at www.flower-couture.com