Monday 4th of March 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

Whole: A Fun, Fresh Plus-size Kenyan Fashion Label Founded By Getrude Njeri

Whole is a fun, fresh plus-size Kenyan Fashion Label that will soon be the go-to destination for plus size women and plus size men in Kenya looking for beautiful fashion pieces.

NFH Contributing Writer Linda Wairegi sat down with the founder Getrude Njeri, to learn more about Whole clothing brand and her journey as a fashion designer.


LW: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

GN: My name is Gertrude Njeri I am a multimedia journalist and a media marketer. I have worked as a writer, audiovisual producer and digital media strategist, and storyteller for different brands. I enjoy uncovering and narrating stories that relate to human experiences, their desires, convictions, interests, and challenges.

Fashion is an extension of who I am, and I believe it is also a great tool to tell one’s stories and express oneself fully. That’s why when I saw a gap for full-figured men and women to openly express themselves through fashion, I was inspired to start my clothing brand.

LW: When did you fall in love with fashion?

GN: I think I’ve just always loved fashion since I was young. Dressing up, styling, and seeing how little bits, pieces, and elements can come together to make something really beautiful!

LW: Who inspired you to start your fashion journey?

GN: Myself to be honest. haha. I am such a lover of clothing and style and when I visited stores, and shops that had really beautiful pieces but didn’t have them in my size, it was disheartening. Also knowing that other plus size men and women were going through this inspired me to serve them.

LW: What’s the name of your fashion label? And why?

GN: Whole.

I was looking for a name that had meaning behind it and that would be timeless. So the message behind it also greatly influenced the name.

For so long plus size men and women were made to feel inferior cause they did not fit into beauty standards. Whole seemed like a perfect fit cause it alluded to how wholesome and complete these full-figured beings are both inwards and outwards.

LW: When did you start your Whole?

GN: Whole has been a process, I can’t say it had a definite beginning. But the concept came to me when I was at my aunt’s place. (She is very religious and spiritual)

So as she and my mum were having banter and drinking tea, I was in the other room browsing through my phone, looking at style inspiration as I always do, then it came to me!

So I ran out to where my mum and my aunt were and I pitched the idea to them and they were like “YES! please do it!” And being in that anointed home, it just felt like God told me to do it there and then!

So from that day, it has just been a journey really. We are constantly launching and identifying new ways that work for us and our customers.

LW: Where can potential customers view and purchase your designs?

GN: We have the temporary shopping site now and the catalogue available here:

So regarding the price points, we have custom-made pieces that are 10-20 % more than the ready-to-go pieces. However, the ready to go pieces range from Ksh 2,000-4,000.

LW: Why did you decide to come up with a plus-size clothing line?

GN: From a personal experience, I lacked trendy and unique clothing in my size and so many of my plus size girlies expressed the same sentiments. And generally, plus-size bodies are so divine and they too, deserve clothing that makes them feel beautiful and whole.

LW: What makes it different from other plus-size fashion labels/houses?

GN: Our Whole Assist feature is a whole new ball game!

We know that plus size men and women have their mass distributed differently; into different sizes shapes such as apple, hourglass, pear, square etc.

This platform is here to ensure that all the pieces you buy from us have the perfect fit! With the specific measurements you share, we tailor-make or adjust the clothing you purchase from us according to your size and shape.

Also Whole is more of a message than a clothing brand. We are here to literally change the perception of these beings as worthy frames of style and appeal through our pieces. Think of Whole as a revolution!

LW: Can you tell us more about your design process?

GN: So we mostly curate our designs and pieces. The idea was that so many trendy clothing that was in the market was unavailable in larger sizes. So we identify these unique pieces and recreate them, to flatter the full-figured body and make them available to plus-size men and women.

LW: Do you have an interest in making plus-size clothing for men?

GN: Yes most definitely! I have a whole design mood board for my plus-size men. And we plan to actualize this in the next collection.

LW: Have you faced any challenges?

GN: There are constant challenges, It has not been easy! Especially in the early stages. Just getting everything in place and getting that grounding was super hard. But we continue to grow and overcome!

LW: What’s your favourite ‘Whole’ Item? Why?

GN: This is so so hard for me to choose lol cause all of them are just amazing and have different elements in them that make them unique and beautiful.

LW: What’s your highlight so far, in your fashion journey?

GN: My highlight would definitely be the fact that Whole has so much potential, each time I am in my Whole workspace working, I see so many avenues for its growth and success.
And that is my constant highlight, to be honest!

LW: What’s your dream collaboration?

GN: There are excellent plus-size models that I’d love to work with! They are:

I’d also love to tap into brands that do not have a broad size range and give them that!

LW: Do you have an inspiring quote for aspiring fashion designers?

GN: Please just do it! Dream it, Idealise it, Fall in Love with It and do it! Do it scared, uncertain, and terrified but please do it! Everything else will follow, I promise.

LW: Is anything else, that you feel our readers should know about you or about Whole?

GN: Go purchase your first piece from Whole!
For your sisters, aunts, girlfriends, mum, best friends! There is something for everyone.

More Fashion Week Designers Are Making Plus-Size Clothing

Curvy shoppers still face a host of obstacles on their quest for runway-worthy style.

Before we talk about just how many NYFW designers show and then actually produce clothing for plus-size shoppers, let’s address the elephant in the room. New York Fashion Week is dwindling. What was once one of the industry’s largest semi-annual affairs has shrunk in size substantially over the past several seasons. Its fall 2020 schedule, which spanned from February 7 to 12, hosted 69 designers recognized by the official NYFW calendar put forth by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). That’s compared to 77 who showed their Spring collections in September. As we noted in our size report last season, the diminishing roster gives the impression that more designers are increasing their size ranges than is actually the case.

Fall 2020 saw 32% of designers up their size offerings, with 22% now producing a size 20 or above. On a superficial level, that’s great news! Yet those improvements occurred in tandem with a few notable shortcomings, like a 16% overall decrease in designers who produce a size 14 and above. Plus, Tanya Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger, and Studio 189, who went up to size 22 last season, were absent from the FW20 schedule, as was longtime size-diversity advocate Christian Siriano, who chose to show his collection the day before the official start of the NYFW schedule (and featured Rachel Bilson, carrying a bag made of literal junk).

It’s worth pointing out that of those designers who introduced newly extended sizes this season, nearly one-third did so with exclusive collections for plus-size webstore 11 Honoré. Though adding more sizes and making clothing accessible to more people is never a bad thing, it’s peculiar that the likes of Cynthia Rowley and Jason Wu would do so through a third-party website rather than simply upping the sizing on their official sites, which still offer a relatively limited range. This feels like a half-step in the right direction. Are there more designer clothes for plus-size people? Literally, yes. But they’ve got to hit up a niche, plus-only shopping destination to find it; they’re not being invited to the designer boutique (or website) enjoyed by their thin counterparts.

InStyle surveyed the size ranges of every brand on this season’s NYFW schedule. Read on for more information about which designers are pushing toward inclusivity (albeit sometimes only through 11 Honoré), and which could still use a serious reality check. To highlight the impact of 11 Honoré on brands’ sizes, we placed an asterisk alongside the name of every designer who has released extended sizes at that e-retailer and not on their namesake websites. It’s important to note that these are still the real-deal designer clothes, and not diffusion lines or mass-retailer collaborations; any of those are excluded from this tally.

A few things about our survey.

  • We only surveyed designers that could be found on the official CFDA calendar here.
  • We only included women’s ready-to-wear brands (denim and men’s, for example, were excluded).
  • We did not include designers that only create custom clothing or do not sell in retail (like The Blonds).
  • Brands that answered us in European sizes were converted to US sizing using this chart.
  • For brands that size XS-XXL, we used the following conversion: XS= 0, S=2/4, M=6/8, L=10/12, XL=14/16, XXL=18/20. This was based on the average of the designers’ conversion estimations.
  • In the instance that a designer offers extended sizing per request but does not produce it across the majority of their products, we went with the size run they create all pieces in.

Up to Size 28
Dennis Basso

Up to Size 24
Cynthia Rowley
Jason Wu Collection*
Rebecca Minkoff
Veronica Beard

Up to Size 22
Badgley Mischka*
Brandon Maxwell*
Carolina Herrera*

Up to Size 20
Adam Lippes
Brock Collection
Jonathan Simkhai*
Lela Rose
Marc Jacobs*
Naeem Khan*

Up to Size 18
Kate Spade New York
Prabal Gurung*
Sally LaPointe*
The Row

Up to Size 16
Bibhu Mohapatra
Coach 1941
Eckhaus Latta
Michael Kors
Oscar de la Renta

Up to Size 14
alice + olivia
Christian Cowan
Fe Noel
Kim Shui
Nicole Miller
Tory Burch
Ulla Johnson

Up to Size 12
Anna Sui
Collina Strada
Helmut Lang
Jonathan Cohen
LaQuan Smith
Marina Moscone
Palm Angels
Sies Marjan
Vera Wang

Up to Size 10
Alejandra Alonso Rojas
Claudia Li
Dion Lee
Gabriela Hearst
Snow Xue Gao

Up to Size 8
Proenza Schouler
Sandy Liang

This article originally appeared on Instyle