By Danah Jbara
Growing up in the Kuwaiti culture there’s plenty that we’ve grown accustomed to, mainly wanting what everybody else has. It’s not just your usual global trends such as Apple products or Starbucks Coffee. Whether it’s the way we dress, the businesses we start, the places we eat down to the perfume we wear, it has to be like the rest of our fellows or else… we just won’t fit.
Being unique just doesn’t cut it. Men: you have to own a pair of Tod’s or Toms, you absolutely have to have a stock of A&F or Hackett at home, with a few colored poufy vests and you definitely can’t leave the house without your toiletry bag that you’ve vainly abused as a murse (men’s purse). Yes, I can tell by your wrists, keys and wallet, that Bottega is your favorite brand too. Thankfully the craze of Fierce and Black Orchid colognes is now fading but of course we can’t get enough of that Creed.
Ladies: Who said it has to rain for you to pull out your Hunters and your UGGS to bear the Siberian colds of Kuwait? Make sure to grab that Trapeze or Birkin the second you step out of the country, along with a pair of Hi-Tops, preferably Marants, since we all know they’ll wonder where you got it from, and then get it the week after. I’m sure by now, you know that leggings have officially replaced pants and whatever it is, if it’s not studded or spiked it’s just not cool enough.
Amongst the saturation of cupcake bakeries and burger joints, fashion designers/stylists and turban heads, come the race of the glamorous automobiles. Factually, the Gulf has the highest amount of sports cars per person in the world; I mean we make Porsches look like yellow cabs, while Ferraris and Lamborghinis decorate our streets around every corner. Cars have always represented social status, so it’s only normal of humans to want a bigger, faster, hotter and a newer one to show off.
There was a time where every girl’s coveted car was a Carrera, with or without the added S, even its sister Targa would do. After a while, her desire evolved to the bigger yet still sporty Cayenne as well as the Range Rover Sport. We can understand these choices, as they are luxurious cars that offer speed and so many other options among transportation, not forgetting their hefty price tag that despite the bulk numbers we see them in, most cannot afford. Believe it or not the Range Rover Sport has openly become the most anticipated car among men, in hopes of most probably catching a woman driving it. Of course the car trend marathon does not end here. To take it up a notch, girls started asking daddy, or sugar daddy, for the famed Mercedes Benz G-Class, and not forgetting, tinting it to avoid “unwanted” attention, like men in this country aren’t hawks who’ll spot a female miles away, especially with her window “half down”. Obviously, luxury is the keyword amongst the trending car choices, along with safety, speed and sleek design. However something new seems to be stealing the spotlight from what we’re used to seeing roaming the streets of Kuwait. It defies the norm with its reasonable price, its bulky, far from safe design, and lack of speed. Ladies and gentlemen we present to you the new Habba: The Jeep Wrangler.
In all its different models, sizes and colors the Wrangler has made a comeback on the streets of Kuwait. The word Jeep is synonymous with rugged, all-conquering vehicles and although the Wrangler’s design and engineering has been rarely evolving for as long as it has existed, more and more Kuwaiti buyers keep coming to the brand. Who would have thought that the anticipated car is now a non-luxurious one that doesn’t have an account draining price tag? Who of the fathers ever imagined taking his daughter to the Jeep dealership to make her dream come true with a Wrangler Sport? Well the world as we know it is changing; glaciers are melting, dictators are falling and Kuwaitis are embracing self-expression and freedom in the wilderness of Gulf Street. Not that the Wrangler’s purpose of use wont be traversing dirt roads and mountain terrains of Kuwait’s ring roads, but it might also be used for minimal weekend trips to the chalets, a few off roads here and there.
Thanks to Kuwait’s “Habba”, in November 2012, the Jeep Wrangler has topped the sales of the Porsche Cayenne in 10 places, landing only 2 places below the beloved Range Rover Sport according to a sales chart by bestsellingcarblog.com. In fact, Jeep hit the list of Kuwait’s Top 20 Selling cars in November of 2012, when it was nowhere near it in May, just a few months earlier of the same year. Talk about the power of a trend.
This 4WD has its perks though; with the heavenly weather of Kuwait you get to use and abuse its drop top, doors or everything that drops in that matter. You also get all the traction and control you need to navigate through rain, snow, mud, ice and unexpected obstacles as advertised, and of course, you get to create your own parking spot on any sidewalk of your choice. Okay, you definitely need a 4×4 for your desert trips and off road adventures boys, but girls; driving to the chalet to spend the weekend tanning and bingeing on goodies doesn’t count as a trip that requires the wrangler as your main car let alone as a second car just for fun. The Wrangler was built as an off-road vehicle originally used in World War II, it’s not meant to be driven on paved roads and is actually hard to steer, not an easy and swift drive around town at all. Even Jeep admits that it isn’t the best vehicle in its stable when it comes to on-road driving. However this four-wheeled box makes sense once it hits natural terrain and can definitely be enjoyed like any toy, but not in an everyday, to and from work, kind of way.
The Habba is what it is and we should take a moment to appreciate the habba-setters out there for boosting sales in Kuwait, regardless of the medium be it a restaurant, a vehicle, a brand, down to a specific coffee drink (it’s only called Vanilla Ice Shaken in Kuwait by the way). It’s a mystery as to how certain things become trends. Yes – the American media is a factor, but who smelled Black Orchid on which celebrity? Or started their cupcake bakery after which artist? Better yet, name me one person in Hollywood with thick straight lines tattooed as eyebrows. I guess some things cannot be understood, and if you’re not going to strap on your red bottoms and hop on board you just have to sit back and enjoy the show.