Jacket Designer Rosa Halpern Stays Fit with Martial Arts

Fitness & Workout

Jacket Designer Rosa Halpern Stays Fit with Martial Arts

The Namesake founder breaks down her keys to keeping healthy and active, from dog walks to Jiu-Jitsu to always surrounding herself with calming scents.
How do they do it all? ‘Personal Best’ looks at the hardest working Canadians, and their wellness routines. This week, we talk to Rosa Halpern, owner and founder of Namesake, a Canadian leather jacket brand.

Rosa Halpern is always on her feet. If the Toronto-based fashion designer is not busy handling leather in her studio, she’s out taking her dog for hour-long walks. She’s also dabbled in yoga, Jiu-Jitsu, and Tae Kwon Do.

Here, Halpern breaks down her key to keeping active throughout the day, and her secrets to always-fresh skin.


On a scale of one to 10 (one being a couch potato and 10 being a fitness guru), where do you sit when it comes to health and wellness?

I live a very active lifestyle by profession, so I would say I’m an 8.5. I don’t have an office job where I am sitting at a computer every day. By nature of that, I’m keeping myself active both physically and mentally. My day starts at 7 am and doesn’t usually finish until 7 pm, so I’m not really slugging around too much.


Can you tell me about your morning routine?

I have a studio dog, she comes to work with me everyday. She’s a rescue Egyptian street dog and Namesake’s mascot. We go for an hour-long walk every single morning. That really helps me get outside and get active. I am super thankful I have her to force me to do that. I take her out three times a day at pretty much the exact same time which gives me a break from what I’m doing, and forces me to take breaks. I have been far too busy to do the regular work outs I used to do. I really love martial arts. I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

When did you earn your black belt?

When I was 18. I haven’t done Tae Kwon Do since university, but I am starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which I am really excited about as a way to get out any frustration in my day, help me to reset and focus. In terms of other things, my mother is a yoga instructor in the city. I do a lot of private Vinyasa classes with her at her studio as well, which is really awesome. It’s something that connects us.

What’s your Yoga uniform?

I like Lululemon leggings.

Are there certain types of candles, oils, diffusers or incense you use?

Absolutely. I am a huge scent fanatic. Our studio has our own signature candle that we developed. It’s called the Nation of Leather. We developed it because when other people came into our studio, which is full of leather, they say, “Oh my God, it smells so good in here.” The idea behind that candle was to bottle everything good about that leather smell, and make it even better. We added a hint of oak moss.

Is there a particular scent you prefer?

I wear the Le Labo Santal scent. In terms of shower products, I love their Hinoki and Bergamote scent too – they’re amazing. I do their shower gels, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. The products make me feel like I’m having an at-home spa trip every time I use them because they smell so good. Before bed, I put eucalyptus oil in my diffuser. It’s actually good for your immune system;’ I feel like it wards off any illness.

Are you a manicure person?

I work with my hands all day, so it is very hard for me to keep hands looking nice. I always try to have a manicure, mostly out of necessity. Leather dyes your hands. So my hands have a blackish leather dye tint to them and my nails would look awful if I didn’t have a manicure on. Thus, I always have a dark manicure.

Every two weeks, I do the dipping manicure at NuGenesis because it’s the only manicure that withstands the abuse I put my hands through. I also go for a facial every four weeks. Again, leather dust permeates everything we do, so I am obsessed with skincare and keeping my face clean.


When you do go on vacation are you going for relaxation or adventure?

I try to keep work and play separate. I love New York and I love going to cities, but when I’m in cities, I often combine work and play. A city vacation might not feel like a ‘real’ vacation. If I am looking to relax completely, I need to be by a beach. I love, love, love going to the beach.

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