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Image / Editorial

The elderly Taiwanese dry cleaners who create high-fashion shoots with leftover clothes


by Erin Lindsay
23rd Jul 2020
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The couple are photographed on Instagram by their grandson


Do you ever take a peek at the rails of hanging garments at the dry cleaners and wish you could try them on? As it turns out, leftover clothes are more common than you’d think at dry cleaners around the world, and while most owners plead with customers to pick up their forgotten wares, some pieces left to go to waste.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone put those garments to good use? Well, that’s exactly what an elderly couple in Taiwan are doing on Instagram.

Wan-Ji and Sho-Er, 83 and 84, own a dry cleaners in central Taiwan, and have built a rapid following on Instagram by breathing new life into forgotten clothing.

Directed by their grandson, the pair pose in old clothing that has been left behind in their dry cleaners, and the results stand up beside any high fashion photo shoot on the magazine shelves.

From graphic t-shirts to chic pencil skirts, leather jackets to jaunty bucket hats, Wan-Ji and Sho-Er have definitely found their calling as models and influencers. According to Taiwanese news outlets, the couple have owned their dry cleaners for over 60 years, and some of the clothing in the pictures are over 20 years old – the pair are definitely advocates for slow fashion.

Their popularity has skyrocketed on Instagram over the last number of weeks – their first post was made on June 27, and as of today, the couple are nearing 100,000 followers on the platform.

Their grandson, who runs the account, has made a number of posts thanking new followers for joining their fashion journey, describing how he explained to his grandparents what the surge in audience means. “Last week, Wan Ji & Sho-Er finally figured out what means by 10,000 followers = 10,000 people subscribing to newspapers (because the elderly actually don’t know what “follower” is. I had to explain it this way),” he said in a recent post.

“I told them that 50,000 people have subscribed to their newspaper today, and there are more than 14,500 people who are from other countries. At that moment, it was really funny that the reaction of Wanji was worried instead of happy. He asked, “What will happen after that? Do they understand if I speak Taiwanese?”‘

The couple have caught the attention of major publications in their country, like Vogue Taiwan and GQ Taiwan, with their fresh and fun approach to sustainable fashion. Their grandson summed it up perfectly in a recent Instagram post: “Ask them to reinterpret fashion, hoping to let everyone know that age is not a barrier to have fun in fashion and even old clothings can transformed into trendy outfits!”


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