How the Angels Sale Unfolded

Dazed Digital were one of the first to break the news of the vintage sale of the century and Jessica Rolland along with 5,000 others trekked it up to North Wembley to check it out.

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Running into Euston station and making it to the platform just in time, my jaw dropped as I reached the platform to see every car full for the Saturday morning 7.57 to North Wembley. Surely not...no one else knew about the big Angels sale! Even though I'd seen it mentioned on all sorts of e-lists and websites and even -oh no they didn't- in the free papers, I had definitely been living in denial. The Angels sale was my little secret. Judging by the sleepy faces sat in the train and in the queue, I wasn't the only one who felt my secret was out.

North Wembley was all abuzz as happy hunters rushed past to get to East Lane Business Park, where the legendary London costumier promised to sell a bag of vintage clothing for as little as - gasp - a tenner! Never before have I stood in a queue as long or as orderly, wrapped around the Angels building and around the next building, over the crosswalk and all the way back through the parking lot. When you feel like you've walked to Australia, said one guy to his friend, you've made it. Oh, and don't try jumping this queue, even if you're only one. Even if you've come off the Eurostar from Paris and are 'late'. Don't even try it - these people mean business!

During the two hour wait (for those of us who could not wake up at dawn), you could feel the excitement in the air and hear high hopes for dream-come-true finds: zoot suits, wing-tip brogues, sequined disco jumpsuits, feathers....what was it going to be like inside? Would everything be gone by the time our turns came? How big would the bags be? And which room to hit first - yes, there was a map! - 1930s-40s-50s, 1960s, uniforms, sci-fi props, shoes! Once you got a bit closer to the building, from down below you could see the ultimate tease through the windows: heads bopping up and down as people dug their way through the treasures.

Just when it felt like our toes were going to fall off we rounded the final corner and could see the door! By this point they were only letting in a few people at a time. I was content to buy two £20 bags and defrost in another queue to go up the stairs. The stairs to heaven! Heaven as room after crowded room of cardboard boxes sat atop plinths, bursting with fabrics of all textures and colours. Struggling to hold all of their loot, people pushed their way through the crowds and tried to avoid falling head-first into the boxes. I myself went into a bit of a vintage coma, having decided on the train and then in the queue, that today was the day to set all courtesies aside. If I saw that special something I was willing to dive for it. I moved like a zombie from box to box, room to room. coming up for air every now and then in a rare empty corner to make extra room in my bags by weeding out the things I didn't really want. Some of the best finds were those found by chance on the floor, dropped from arms by accident or left behind in exchange for something thought better.

After a couple hours in the warehouse-sized space, I left exhausted and smiling with arms loaded down, satisfied the journey and the wait had been worth it. And although I didn't find that Pendleton blanket coat or the long johns of my dreams, I did come out with some true treasures: approximately 20 items ranging from a gumdrop-shaped hat to a 1950s dress, grandpa cardigan, pyjama bottoms and 1940s jackets. Some of them I will cherish forever, many I will alter and repair, two or three I may never wear once. All of which have rich layers of history. And now a new life.

Video of how the sale unfolded...

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