This Taiwanese Couple Models Other People’s Forgotten Laundry
Wanji is 83 and Sho-er is 84. Together, they own Wansho Laundry in Taichung, Taiwan. Wansho Laundry has been opened for around 70 years, since Wanji was 14 years old. Like all laundries, Wansho Laundry receives a lot of abandoned clothes. But unlike most other laundries, these abandoned garments are given a second life. That is, styled and modeled on Wanji and Sho-er for their 552k (and counting) followers to see on Instagram.
Although Reef Chang—Wanji and Sho-er’s grandson and unofficial stylist—started @wantshowasyoung as a way to alleviate his grandparents’ boredom when business slowed down due to the pandemic, the account has since gained unexpected global attention. Within one month and with only 22 posts, @wantshowasyoung has already reached 552k followers. The couple has also been interviewed on the local news, featured on Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times, and many other publications. When @wantshowasyoung first reached 10,000 followers, it was hard for Wanji and Sho-er to understand what that meant. It wasn’t until their grandson used the analogy of newspaper subscriptions (“10,000 people subscribed to the newspaper to see you two!”) that they understood the significance of their growing fanbase. “What will happen after that? Do they understand if I speak Taiwanese?” Wanji asked, concerned when he realized a large number of their followers were from other countries. With their growing exposure, especially to foreign audiences, Reef has been diligently replying to each comment and DM and adding English translations to each of their captions.
But words aren’t even necessary, for the clothes speak for themselves. Some of these garments (patterned shirts, camel-colored blazers, graphic t-shirts) have been left at the store for up to 20 years. Yet coupled with Wanji and Sho-er’s playful poses, they never looked better. “The two of them were very fashionable when they were young so they would have opinions,” Reef recently said to ANCX. From a checkered necktie tied around a double-breasted white suit to colorful berets, matching Chuck Taylors, and leather fanny-packs, the details to each outfit are impressive, to say the least. But @wantshowasyoung’s appeal lies not merely in the good styling, but also in the octogenarian models themselves. Like one follower commented, “their joy is universal.” Indeed, if there is one thing Wanji and Sho-er showed us it is that the love for fashion is limitless.