Our collective picnic game has certainly improved over the last few years. We’re ordering next-level hampers and booking services, like this one in Sydney, that do all the hard work for you. And now we’re raising the standards of what we sit on, too.
One of the people taking notice of this new passion for park hangs is Daisy Clementine, who’s launched Peek Neek – an online store selling a series of four chic picnic rugs designed in Australia and made in India. She tells Broadsheet that with the pandemic, picnics stopped being a “kitschy kids-style activity” and became “something a little more elevated. My friends started bringing balsamic figs, natural wines and $30 cheeses.”
But what her friends were sitting on didn’t quite match the elevated picnic spread. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute. The backdrop for this new era of picnicking is all wrong, and we’re doing these sexy snacks a disservice,’” she says. When her search for the perfect rug didn’t result in any wins, she decided to make her own.
Her aim was to revitalise the recognisable picnic rug – a traditional gingham pattern – for the 21st century. She tells Broadsheet her inspiration for the designs came from “an aggressive amount of Instagram polls”, plus “recipes, nature, runways, photography, paintings, or a blue car parked outside a yellow building”.
Each rug is handwoven in Uttar Pradesh, India, from upcycled plastic bottles, which makes them super thick, durable and stain resistant. There are four colour patterns: Chocolate and Burrata, Orange Wine and Lavender, Sea Salt and Sunshine, and Pink Frosting and Lime.
Food stylist Bronte Murray helped give each rug its “own personality and purpose”, says Clementine. Chocolate and Burrata is perfect for morning coffee and croissants, for example, while Sea Salt and Sunshine is all about bougie seafood platters by the sea.
Each $249 rug gives you 2.5 square metres of ultra-comfy, handwoven gingham goodness to park yourself, your friends and your comté vieux on. On top of their good looks, the rugs have a repellant quality, meaning you don’t need to worry about someone spilling their wine or beer all over your new purchase.
“We spent weeks purposefully spilling things onto the sample rugs – red wine, ketchup, coffee – and I actually still can’t believe that you can genuinely just wet a cloth and dab it a few times, and everything lifts off so easily,” says Clementine. “We went back and forth with our supplier ensuring the thickness of the rugs, combined with the natural water resistance, would mean no wet butts when the grass is dewy.”