Olga Dogadkina is blazing a trail in the fashion industry with Emperia – and further sectors are in her sights as the immersive tech startup builds experiences for top football clubs.

The idea for Emperia, founded in 2018, sparked when she was consulting for Microsoft on a fashion-related project and tried virtual reality for the first time.

“It just blew my mind: I thought ‘this is what’s going to change the way people shop’,” she says in an interview with our sister publication TechBlast. “You can create a picture for people who are sitting at home enjoying a glass of wine; they can enjoy a shopping experience they would normally only be able to access in store.”

By building a virtual space in full 3D – either a digital copy of a physical store or showroom, or a completely different concept – it can recreate the brand’s collection with 100% precision, allowing for a detailed 500% zoom on products with full material and colour integrity.

Its partnerships in the commercial art gallery world – where it started out – include Getty Images, Maddox and Christie’s, while in fashion Burberry and Harrods have signed up.


Harrods teamed up with Emperia to launch Dom Perignon’s Lady Gaga collaboration

A number of other global fashion houses have commissioned Emperia’s technology to develop their target audiences in the coming months.

“We create a virtual store to represent the brand which it can then use continuously as a virtual flagship rather than a marketing one-off,” she explains. “They can then continuously update their products.”

The navigation is similar to Google Maps, with users able to click on the floor to move, and hold the button and swipe to turn. Clicking on a product gives you a zoomed-in view which you can rotate and examine in great detail. “You can really see every button, every stitch on a jacket,” says Dogadkina. 

Live chat functionality allows a salesperson – or even designer – to walk people through the virtual stores, giving them that personalised VIP experience.

For the full story of how Russian Dogadkina has grown the London startup, the differences with her parents’ businesses and how she tackled the COVID conundrum, read the full story on TechBlast.

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