Published:Friday, 24 Jul 2020 08:07
“I never would’ve thought at my age so many people would want to look at pictures of me,” says 84-year-old Hsu Hsiu-e.
She smiles proudly, standing in her laundrette with washed and ironed laundry hanging from overhead poles or stuffed inside glass cabinets all around her.
For 70 years, she and her husband, Chang Wan-ji, 83, have been quietly washing the clothes of the people in Houli District, Taichung City, in central Taiwan.
Over the decades, hundreds of pieces of clothing have piled up that customers had neglected to pick up.
Recently their grandson, Reef Chang, convinced them to have fun by modelling the abandoned clothes and posting the pictures on Instagram.
And to their surprise, their posts have become a big hit – so far their WantShowAsYoung account has 130,000 followers from around the world.
But Reef Chang says he wasn’t aiming to make his grandparents famous, he simply wanted to help them fight boredom as they grew old in Houli, a sleepy district of around 50,000 people.
“Their business is not always busy. 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,” he told the BBC.
So with advice from friends with good fashion sense, he helped his grandparents mix and match shirts, shorts, blouses, and skirts, accessorising with borrowed purses, hats and sunglasses.
He then took fashion magazine-worthy pictures of them posing in front of the washers and and dryers in their old shop.
The looks created – grandpa in shorts and shirts that make him look like he was going to Havana, Cuba for holiday, and grandma in blouses and skirts that accentuated her slim figure – surprised the elderly couple.
The two strike poses that ooze style and chic – even in their ’80s.
“Dressed like that, I feel 30 years younger,” said Wan-ji, beaming.
Hsiu-e’s favourite outfit is the one of her wearing a plaid skirt from her closet and blouse left behind by a customer and a hat. “I like the way I look in that outfit,” she said.