TAICHUNG, Taiwan — For seven decades, a married couple in Taiwan have run a laundry business, quietly washing and dry-cleaning clothes. Suddenly, they have become an internet sensation.
That’s because Chang Wan-ji, 83, and Hsu Sho-er, 84, have been modeling clothes left behind by their customers, The New York Times reported. The clothes have been abandoned for more than a year, and hundreds of pieces of apparel have been piling up at the Wansho Laundry in Taichung, according to the BBC.
Chang and Hsu have been modeling vintage clothing on an Instagram account set up by their grandson in June.
The love shown by social media users has taken the starch out of the octagenarians.
“My grandson is very creative,” Hsu told the Times. “His creativity has made us happy, and other people, too.”
“I don’t know if my reaction was positive at first,” Chang told CNN via email, adding that his first reaction to his grandson’s idea was “Will anybody want to look at this?”
Apparently, a lot of people. More than 136,000 people have subscribed to the Instagram account. Even though there are only 19 photos, they have become a hit on social media.
The couple’s grandson, Reef Chang, 31, said he created the account because the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down their business. Taiwan has a population of nearly 24 million people, but health officials have reported only 458 cases, 55 local transmissions and seven deaths, the Times reported.
“Their business is not always busy. They would doze off in the shop and their spirits weren’t high,” Reef Chang told the BBC. “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.”
The elder Chang and Hsu have modeled an eclectic, funky array of clothing. Their Instagram account shows them in matching laced sneakers, caps and hats. One photo shows Hsu leaning against a large washing machine with her arms crossed as her husband grins and holds the open door of the machine, the Times reported.
“Dressed like that, I feel 30 years younger,” Chang Wan-ji told the BBC.
The couple have been together for more than 60 years. Chang Wan-ji met Hsu in the late 1950s, when he was 21, the Times reported. When Hsu’s elder sister and aunt took Chang Wan-ji to meet Hsu, he did not stay long, much to Hsu’s dismay.
“I wanted him to sit down with me, but he wouldn’t,” Hsu told the newspaper. “He was pretty shy.”
Not totally shy, however.
“My first time seeing her, I was delighted,” Chang Wan-ji told the Times. “Not long afterward, we started discussing marriage.”
The couple married in 1959 and raised two sons and two daughters. They now have six grandchildren. They work at the business Chang Wan-ji has managed since he was 14, the newspaper reported.
Now, in addition to their clientele, they have fans worldwide.
“I didn’t think people would like it,” Chang Wan-ji told CNN.
“Knowing that people still like me makes it feel like I have more grandsons and granddaughters,” Hsu told the news network.