Interview: Zoe Cotlenko – Part 1

Paris – Prêt à Porter salon

This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.

Zoé Cotlenko, we are at the Éclat de Mode–Bijorhca Fair, the international event dedicated to the Fashion Jewellery Universe taking place in Paris.

How long have you been participating in the fairs?

I have been participating for twelve years, since the start of my career. For me the fairs are the easiest way to meet new clients, especially on an international scope. In just a few days, I can meet people who run small shops, as well as important buyers like those working for big chain stores or museum stores. I started this marketing business quite fast, I’m keeping it up and it makes me happy.

What triggered your wish to be a jewel designer?

It has something to do with my family. Since I was a child, my father would offer jewels to my sisters and me as birthday presents. He is very fond of black art. He would often offer us big unwearable jewels, like slave jewellery. We were young and at age eight, we would often find ourselves with one and a half kilo bracelets meant for decoration more than for wearing.

Zoé Cotlenko at the Éclat de Mode salon–’Bijorhca’ in Paris

The universe of black jewellery, of tribal art, is both a call for travel and freedom. Now, it enables me to develop my imagination with the idea that anything is possible, like little good luck charms, salvaged material items. This all gave me a great openness on creativity and a great freedom in my work.

What does your educational background look like?

First, I attended a business school like my father. It was a family tradition. Shortly after graduating, I realised that the careers related to this branch did not appeal to me. They just didn’t suit my character.

I then started to attend a school of architecture and design (Camondo), and then again, I realised working on a large scale wasn’t my cup of tea either. So I went in for jewellery.

With jewellery, I was able to have my own workshop and a life outside of work and to travel. That is why I really fell for this career and I still love it even though I don’t travel as much anymore. Though I travel less, I still carry a couple things in my bag with which I can pass time and keep myself busy.


Thank you Zoé for taking the time to speak to us at My French Life™. We’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and your work as jewellery designer.

To find out more about Zoé and her Jewellery Collection, you can see her Facebook page Zoe Cotlenko Paris and contact her to

Read Episode 2 of our interview with Zoé here.

About the Contributor

Emmanuelle Tremolet

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