Taiwanese Grandparents Find Lockdown Fame Wearing Clothing Forgotten at Their Laundromat

Chang Sho-Er and his wife Wan Ji might be the coolest people on Instagram.

Elderly couple in high fashion clothes
Photo: wantshowasyoung/Instagram

Two Taiwanese grandparents have gained international attention for their surprisingly fashionable Instagram account, originally only intended to keep them entertained while under quarantine.

Chang Sho-Er and his wife Wan Ji own a laundromat in Taiwan’s coastal city of Taichung. For 70 years, they have run the laundromat without much fuss or celebrity. But during the coronavirus lockdown, business slowed down and their 31-year-old grandson, Reef Chang, decided to launch them an Instagram account.

"Their business is not always busy,” Chang told the BBC. “They would doze off in the shop and their spirits weren't high. So I thought since our family has these clothes, I can remind people to pick up their clothes, and remind my grandparents their life can still be great even in old age.”

Chang gathered items left at his grandparents’ shop and styled outfits for them. Then they posed at the laundromat and he photographed them in magazine-worthy shots. The result is a trendy Instagram account that provides style inspiration for followers of all ages.

From bucket hats to graphic tees to tailored suits, the clothing that the couple wears is an eclectic mix of items left at their laundry shop. Some customers moved away without picking up their items, others passed away, others still have simply forgotten. They have donated hundreds of forgotten items to charities, particularly after natural disasters, but still have a stockpile of hundreds of forgotten items of clothing.

And the response has been global. Since the account launched in June, it has gained more than 170,000 followers on Instagram from around the world — despite only having 19 posts.

The couple said that the best part of the Instagram is seeing the messages pour in from around the world. And hopefully, the success will help remind a few customers to come back to the laundromat and pick up their forgotten clothing.

“It would be nice to chat with them,” the elder Chang told The New York Times. “And to get paid.”

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