Hello INFLUENTE women! My name is Arpi Barbarian, I am Armenian/Syrian, born and raised right here in Dubai, UAE.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR PERSONALITY AND PASSION.
So my personality? I’d like to think that It’s a bit of everything? I'm a free spirited, easy going, but also quite picky person. But also laid back or “chilled out” as some people say. I also think I’m funny. My friends would differ.
YOU HAVE A UNIQUE SENSE OF FASHION. FROM WHERE COME FROM YOUR INSPIRATION AND HOW WILL YOU DEFINE YOUR STYLE?
First off, thank you for that! My inspiration comes from everything around me actually. It can be the music I listen to, the people I see on the streets, the runways and the fashion I see online. However, I don’t think I try to mimic them, but rather mix and match what I like, the way I like it in order to fit my personality. I like feeling comfortable in my clothes. I actually grew up in a more male-dominated household so you can say I’ve been rocking a jeans jacket since I can remember. It was always sneakers over ballerinas, shorts over skirts and anything comfortable. But I’d like to also mention, my style is almost always based on my mood, what I’m feeling that day and the vibe I’m in at that moment. I can go from all black everything to old school 90s with high waisted pants and a white tee and jeans jacket. But always sneakers hahaha. I’m such a sneakerhead because of all the sports I play, which also plays a role in my style. I guess in one sentence I’d say my style is a dynamic mix of comfort and cool you know? Like chilling, but with a twist.
HOW WILL YOU DESCRIBE THE « NEW MIDDLE EAST AESTHETIQUE »?
It’s pretty cool actually. Its crazy to see how the fashion and aesthetics as a whole, has grown and evolved from one thing to the next. But the best part is that what we take from the western world, we add our own cultural influences to it and then turn it into an equally cool and unique trend (sometimes even cooler) it’s inspiring to see what the different generations are all bringing to the table.
DO YOU WEAR LOCAL BRANDS? HOW DO YOU SPOT THEM?
Yes yes yes I do!
To be honest, it’s either social media, word of mouth or I stumble upon them when I’m out shopping or cruising in Dubai. In the case of Five pillars, I discovered them this year at one of the most successful events in the region, Sole DXB, which is also a locally bred brand.
WHERE DO YOU HANGOUT WITH YOUR FRIEND?
Ouf. We are suckers for a good movie night. Whether it’s at the mall or at a friend's house. Nothing beats a good movie night with popcorn and the right people.
Typical Dubai things would also be the times we go cruising on Beach Road, hit up Al Farwania for a killer Karak and Control for paratha. Jeben, Dakoos Wa Chips Oman all the way!!
And of course, we also go food hunting, any new local cafes that open up or a new coffee joint in Warqaa, were there. Trying it as soon as we can hahaha. We even have some great night outs here to the local clubs, bars, and restaurants. We try to stick to the more Rnb and hip-hop based places.
GIVE US YOUR POINT OF VIEW ON HOW THE ARTISTIC SCENE EVOLVE IN THE REGION?
As you now know, I’ve always been big on arts and the creative side of life. I remember very well being reluctant in pursuing a career or degree in arts in the region. I wasn’t able to go abroad for my bachelors, so I had to make a choice and study in another field in order to get a degree that I could 100% do something with here in Dubai. Of course, I also made the conscious decision of studying something I’m interested in. Which was Mass Communications. So anyways back to the point hahaha, I only made that choice because I was afraid of, you know, typical things a young girl would think of, “Oh what if I’m not good enough or I wouldn’t find something to do and so on” and so I decided to keep my art as a hobby and eventually turn it into a career one day. Basically, that dream is getting closer and closer.
The region has grown immensely in the art scene. From contemporary, Modern, classic and expressionism. It’s all here. People are doing their thing, exposing their art and minds to the public eye, and the more artists that do that, the faster and better the art scene becomes. Some major players worth mentioning that contribute to this growth would be Dubai Design Week, Saudi Design Week, The Global Art Forum by Art Dubai. And of course, we’ve got the creative hub of Dubai for local and emerging creatives, Dubai Design District. On top of that, there’s Al Serkal Avenue as well, which is an art hub as well. Let's not forget about the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, the Louvre, the Guggenheim. Like it’s crazy. The growth is unreal comparing it to only a couple years back. There’s just so much to find, to see, to fall in love with and learn about in this region you just need to look in the right places.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO REPLY TO THOSE WHO QUALIFY THE REGION AS "POOR ARTISTICALLY"?
Open your eyes and ears. You are only scratching the surface of the beautiful, the powerful and creativity that exists in the region. You need to look past the skyscrapers and fast cars to truly understand the foundation of the art in the region.
HOW MANY LANGUAGE DO YOU SPEAK, AND/OR UNDERSTAND?
I speak, read and write three languages. Armenian, English, and Arabic. For now. There’s Italian, Spanish and French on the roadmap to learn!
DO YOU THINK THAT GROWING UP IN THE REGION GIVES YOU A MORE OPEN STATE OF MIND?
Definitely. Like 100% it does. The region is so diverse and rich in people. It’s rich in the dynamic cultures, traditions, and values. Every day I learn something new. Narrowing it down to Dubai, it’s a metropolis. It is actually a melting pot. The different nationalities, religions, cultures, styles, and ideas that exist here is actually insane. Especially seeing it from my eyes being someone who saw Dubai grow from a sandpit to being the host of the EXPO 2020. That alone should show the ability the region has.
WHAT COOL MEANS FOR YOU? AND DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER WAY TO DESCRIBE SOMETHING "COOL"?
To me being cool is being yourself. As cliché, as it sounds being cool, begins and ends with you. Be comfortable and happy in your own skin, be unapologetically yourself and to me you are instantly cool. But don’t be rude. No one likes that.
I actually tend to use the word raw3a* ( - روعة ) whenever a friend of mine is looking good, when something funny happens or something looks good! The closest thing I can think of hahaha
WHAT KIND OF WOMEN INSPIRES YOU?
Outspoken women. The ones that never back down. The ones who know what they’re talking about and can educate you, teach you and support you. The ones who have a story to tell even though they’re told not to but still do, in fact, they say it even louder. Women who are not afraid of wearing their hearts on their sleeves and take life with a pinch of salt. And women who stand by other women with a helping hand. I always tell my closest friends, you do you and nothing will stop you. Those women inspire me.Women like my mother and grandmother.
WHAT IS AN « INFLUENTE WOMAN » FOR YOU?
An influential woman to me is someone who can make the slightest positive difference in someone else’s world. An influential woman to me is someone who is passionate, who is real and someone who is her own before she is anyone else’s. She will support you and your dreams unconditionally and once she puts her mind to something, she gets it done, no matter who tries to stop her.