Preserving Portugal’s Wool Craft Tradition. The Story of Fabricaal and the Iconic Mantas de Reguengos.
Fabricaal is a company that is deeply rooted in Portugal’s rich cultural heritage, particularly in the Evora region of Reguengos de Monsaraz. The region is known for its handicrafts, especially the famous Mantas de Reguengos (Reguengos blankets), which date back to the 16th century, during the time of Portuguese royalty.
The company was founded by António Durão in the 1930s. He established a workshop that employed masters and apprentices in the art of wool craft. Decades later, Jose Rosa brought together the region’s manta producers and the workshop became Fabrica Alentejana de Lanificios. With improved design, quality, and production techniques, he created the Mantas de Reguengos brand image and was awarded the Gold Medal at the Brussels Universal Exhibition in 1958.
In 1977, Mizette Nielsen, a Dutch artisan, took over the business and invested in the timeless tradition of heirloom blankets. While retaining the prestige and quality of the Reguengos fabrics, she introduced creative design innovations that kept the brand alive. Mizette added value and a new dimension to this iconic art that is part of the Alentejo’s cultural identity.
In January 2020, three Portuguese visionaries took ownership of the mills, marking a new era. Their passion for the Alentejo’s wool craft tradition resulted in a commitment to local artisans, while introducing new products and repurposing traditional fabrics.
Fabricaal’s products are made from merino wool, which is known for its smooth, fine texture. The wool is woven into yarn, which is then used to create the fabric. The traditional weaving patterns and manual production of the Mantas de Reguengos brand lend themselves to personal interpretation, allowing clients to customize, blending ethnic beauty of the ages into contemporary design.
Fabricaal offers a variety of products, including Alentejano rugs, Alentejana pillows, puffs, tapestry, and Alentejo blankets. Each product is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans.
Fabricaal’s commitment to sustainability is evident in their manufacturing process. They preserve all the time-honored techniques, elements, and motifs passed down over generations. Their weaving uses old artisanal manufacturing methods, where the most important work tool is the loom, unchanged through time. The weavers take their place at the warp beam (at the rear end of the loom), push the beater (adding each turn of thread to the fabric), and press down on the pedals, passing the shuttles (holding the wool yarn) through the warp.
Fabricaal is not just a company, but a preserver of history. It carries forward the region’s history and promotes Reguengos de Monsaraz and its regional traditions. It shares an ancient art in a responsible and sustainable way, keeping alive a craft that has been passed down through generations.