We wanted to find out a bit more about Square One and got in touch with owner Gary Vanger to learn more about how fashion has run through his family for generations!
Tell us about Square One
Square One is a family run business with two fashion boutiques, menswear and womenswear, selling contemporary brands such as L’Agence, Rag & Bone, Goldhawk and Theory. We specialise in casual dressing stocking many American jean brands and selling women’s cashmere sweaters from around the world. In our menswear store we stock niche Italian brands alongside American brands which gives a unique blend of casual clothes.
How long have the shops been in St Johns Wood?
My mother, Lilah Vanger together with her sister, Beetie Lee, first opened a boutique called Vanessa Lee in 1967. They were the first designer womenswear shop in St Johns Wood. The name ‘Vanessa Lee’ was formed from a combination of the two surnames and quickly became the shop to go to.
In 1982 my sister, Sharon Vanger and I, entered the business and decided that we needed a modernisation and a new direction. The first task was to find a name that would give the business a new lease of life. Several of us were sitting together throwing out names and after about 45 minutes somebody mentioned a name that had already been suggested I remember saying “I can’t believe it, we’ve gone back to square one”, and hence the name was born.
In 1991, after my sister passed away, Beverley Vanger (my wife) joined the business. We re-fitted the shop and once again Square One was modernised and together we created Square One as you know it now. In 1999 we decided to launch Square One Menswear, which today is run by our son, James Vanger, who is the 3rd generation.
Tell us more about how you select new pieces in store
Together we travel around the world to Milan, Paris, New York and London visiting trade shows and showrooms. We use 40 years’ experience choosing clothing from many different sources. We try to buy from specialty manufactures, enabling us to curate our own unique style.
What is your go-to item to wear and why?
This question for us is impossible to answer. In our shops we use the same passion in choosing every single item. Our ethos is to handpick every piece to ensure that it forms a staple part of your wardrobe, and can be worn countless times. We are often told by our returning customers that the items they purchased werethe best things they have bought and are still wearing and loving them.
Now that Spring is here, what are your tips to create the best capsule wardrobe
To create your Spring capsule wardrobe I would start with a pair of straight leg cropped Jeans in a mid-blue wash from Frame Denim and a pair of cuffed pants from Bella Dahl. A short and long sleeve cotton T-shirt from Velvet are a staple, giving the perfect base for any spring look. We recommend a mix of silk tops from Gold Hawk and Misa Los Angeles. Due to the ever-changing weather you need a light weight 360 or Autumn Cashmere sweater. Add a L’Agence leather jacket and Theory blazer to create the perfect interchangeable wardrobe.
To create your Spring capsule wardrobe I would start with a pair of Jeans from Paige denim or Rag & Bone. We have a huge selection of different fabric T-shirts from Theory, Hartford and Daniele Fiesoli from Italy, our particular favourites are a knitted linen and cupro, which is made from wood pulp it feel very cool against the skin. Add a Theory sweater or a Paige denim hoodie for a casual looks. Every man needs the perfect casual evening shirt, we love the stretch cotton trim shirt from Xacus. Techno rain-proof jackets from Duno are the perfect weight to get you through the April showers.