In 1840 Morris Angel, the founder of the Company, opened a second-hand clothing shop in the Seven Dials area of London (near Covent Garden) providing a service for those who wanted good quality clothes at reasonable cost. When an actor asked if he could rent a suit rather than buy it, the hire business took off. The company remains a family enterprise with the 6th generation of the Angels family working in the company.
Morris and his son Daniel moved to premises on Shaftesbury Avenue. Daniel opened a bespoke department in this new respectable environment. The quality and style of the clothes was high, and soon theatrical managers were seeking his services for their West End shows.
As the film industry was beginning, Angels began a relationship with the film industry that lasts to this day, making the costumes for the film Maid of the Mountains (1913). Our Shaftesbury Avenue location ensured that we dressed every show of distinction in the West End, including musicals Showboat, The Girl Friend, The Co-optimists, The Year of Grace, No, No Nanette, and plays such as Journey's End, and The Truth Game.
In the late 1920s, after Madame Tussauds was destroyed by fire, Angels re-dressed all the waxworks and provided uniforms and livery for the staff. From 1940 to 1945, Angels provided dress uniforms for the Free French Army and for ENSA, the army entertainment troupe.
Angels won their first Best Costume Design Academy Award for Hamlet (1948) with Laurence Olivier.
In 1989, a fire broke out at the Shaftesbury Avenue store, but Angels continued to provide costumes as the premises were restored.
Angels acquired Bermans in 1992, moving the professional hire for film, TV and theatre to Camden. This allowed the original 119 Shaftesbury Avenue to be opened as Angels Fancy Dress; giving over almost one acre of storage space to public fancy dress hire.
Angels The Costumiers moved the Film and TV Stock to a 160,000 sq.ft. purpose-built facility in Hendon in 2002. The building provides an incredible working environment, encompassing costume rental, line-up, costume making facilities, preparation areas and a suite of 15 designer offices and over 8 miles of costume rail in one room.
Angels supplied costumes and uniforms to all five films nominated for the 2008 Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design and four out of the five films nominated for Film Costume Design BAFTAs. Across The Universe, Atonement, Elizabeth The Golden Age*, La Vie En Rose** and Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.