Taiwanese laundromat owners Wanji, 83, and Xiue, 84, have been washing, pressing, and dry cleaning people’s clothes for sixty years.
Over the decades, they’ve amassed more than a few wardrobe’s worth of forgotten garments, hanging on to some customer’s discarded outfits for years in case they turn up one day to reclaim them.
Last month, their grandson, pained by the monotony of his grandparent’s workdays, devised a plan to put both the unclaimed clothes and his grandparents to good use. The result is wantshowasyoung, an Instagram account that has amassed over 129K followers in less than a month. On it, Wanji and Xiue (or Wanxiu as they’re known collectively) model outfits comprised of the neglected clothes while also reminding everyone that ‘age is not a barrier to have fun’. Each outfit post comes with a description of what they’re wearing, along with some incredible musings behind their origins and possible owners.
For instance, the Budapest Tour tee Xiue sports in this fresh fit was abandoned by its owner at least eight years ago—and is one of five of the same tee left at the laundromat. Wanxiu and their grandson—who writes the captions on each post—suspect that the tees (which come in white, black, yellow, and red) were bought by a family who all did a Budapest tour together. Suffice to say, the memory mustn’t have been one they wanted to keep, and anyone who’s ever been on a family vacation knows why.
Meanwhile, posing next to a row of washing machines, these swaggy suits have been left hanging for twenty and fifteen years respectively, which is a tan-tinged travesty, if you ask me.
Outside their shop, the couple pose wearing suit jackets that ‘may even be older than grandson’. Grandpa has repurposed a pair of suit pants into suave shorts to show off his exceptionally young-looking pins, while in the background, tagged orders awaiting pickup present infinite possibilities. Since going viral (their grandson had to explain to them what both ‘followers’ and ‘viral’ meant), Xiue said people now recognise her when she goes to the local grocery store, to which she replies, “I don’t know you, why you know my name?” Which is a fair question, when you think about it.
Anyway, the whole affair has left me feeling like someone’s cradling my heart with a pair of heated mittens, so if you’re looking for a reason to smile (join the club, bud), check them out. And, as Wanxiu likes to say, ‘A friendly reminder, don’t forget to pick up your laundry!’