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    Vivek Patel and Radhika Rana

    Radhika Rana and Vivek Patel are co- owners of VIRA.
    Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff
    Radhika Rana and Vivek Patel are co- owners of VIRA.


    Age 31

    Occupation Co-owner of Vira boutique

    Residence Somerville

    You both grew up around Boston and studied together in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Was your plan always to return to Boston?


    RADHIKA When I lived in New York, I worked part time in a boutique, and a lot of customers were actually from Boston — they were coming to New York to shop. We wanted to bring what they were looking for back home.

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    VIVEK We wanted to come back because our families are here, [but] we also thought Boston needed more help fashion-wise. Boston has a lot of potential, but people are less likely to take risks.

    Can you describe your customer?

    RADHIKA She’s a well-traveled woman, but she’s not a specific age. She doesn’t have to be 18 or 32. She likes to play around with texture. She likes to layer. Mostly, she’s just somebody who has fun with her wardrobe.

    How do you source the international brands you sell at Vira?

    VIVEK It started when we went to fashion week in India and were just blown away. Now our pieces come from all over. We have a ruffled khaki shirtdress that you can wear with or without pants or a skirt underneath. It’s by a Singapore-based brand, and it’s an example of a foreign silhouette that still works really well here.

    Are your customers from Boston proper or from across the river, too?

    RADHIKA Oh, both. I’ve lived in Somerville for most of my life, but it’s changed so much. Everybody looks so cool now! As a kid, I used to hate Somerville. You’d walk down the street, and it was like, “How’s your mom doing?” It’s so much younger now. I walk around and feel like I can relate to the fashion there.  — A.G.

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