Hsu Sho-Er and her husband Chang Wan Ji, who are both in their 80s, believe "age is not a barrier to have fun in fashion"

By Joelle Goldstein
July 28, 2020 03:20 PM
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Hsu Sho-Er and Chang Wan-Ji
REEF CHANG HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

An elderly couple who own a laundromat together is bringing joy to people around the world as they model customers' forgotten clothes and creatively remind them to pick up their laundry.

Hsu Sho-Er and her husband Chang Wan-Ji have gone viral and captured the hearts of thousands after they posted several photos of themselves on Instagram wearing clothing that was left behind at their Taiwan laundromat.

The couple's grandson, Reef Chang, set up the account for them in June, according to CNN, and he has continued to document his grandparents on the platform as they model variations of the vintage clothing inside and outside of their Taichung business.

"I didn't think people would like it," Wan-Ji, 83, admitted to the outlet, noting that his initial response to the idea was, "Will anybody want to look at this?"

Hsu Sho-Er and Chang Wan-Ji
REEF CHANG HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

But as it turns out, Wan-Ji's initial beliefs couldn't have been further from the truth.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sho-Er and Wan-Ji have accumulated over 519,000 followers through just 21 Instagram posts.

Some photos feature them posed on a chair with hats and jackets, while others have them modeling sunglasses, Adidas sweatshirts, tourist shirts, dresses and leather jackets outside their laundromat.

In many of the early posts, Chang, 31, accompanied the photo with a caption that explains where his inspiration for the dress-up idea came from.

"These old clothes have been abandoned by customers at the laundry for years. Owners of the laundry store, Wan-Ji and Sho-Er who are over 80 years old," he wrote. "Grandson just can't bear to see them overwhelmed with bore every day."

"So, ask them to reinterpret fashion, hoping to let everyone know that age is not a barrier to have fun in fashion and even old clothing can transform into trendy outfits!" he continued. "💡A friendly reminder|Don’t forget to pick up your laundry."

Hsu Sho-Er and Chang Wan-Ji
REEF CHANG HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Hsu Sho-Er and Chang Wan-Ji
REEF CHANG HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After the couple hit 100,000 followers, Chang noted that his grandparents were "a little surprised but also very confused."

"I really want to show my gratitude to everyone who likes them!" he wrote. "They don’t know how is this even possible, over 50,000 followers are from other countries! I told them 'Just try to imagine it this way, you’ve got many grandsons and granddaughters who also love you all over the world!'"

In their latest photo, Chang once again acknowledged how his grandparents had unexpectedly become viral sensations and discussed the stories behind the pieces of clothing they were wearing.

"From 6/27 to 7/27, what a surprising month for Wan-Ji and Sho-Er!" he wrote. "Sho-Er said, 'Don’t just keep resting every day because you think you’re old. This will only make you older!'"

Hsu Sho-Er and Chang Wan-Ji
REEF CHANG HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Chang also noted that the sweater Wan-Ji was wearing had been unclaimed for five to 10 years, while Sho-Er's top had been left sitting in the laundromat for three to five years.

Over the past month, Chang told CNN that seeing his grandparents, who have owned the business for 70 years, dress up in clothing that is much different from their usual style has been quite amusing.

"Grandpa loves wearing a suit because he wants people to see that he washes and irons clothes properly" Chang shared with the outlet. "He thinks that if we are running a laundromat but look dirty, then no one will come in. He thinks it shows his professionalism, so he insists on wearing an ironed suit."

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As for Sho-Er, Chang said, "When my grandma was young, she was a fashionable girl. There are two wardrobes full of her old clothes, and the style is similar to that of the female stars of her generation. But now, she is more concerned that the clothes are comfortable."

Though they never expected to become viral sensations, Sho-Er told CNN that she has enjoyed every moment with her husband.

"Knowing that people still like me makes it feel like I have more grandsons and granddaughters," she said.