Reef Chang created the Instagram account @wantshowasyoung for his grandparents when he saw hidden potential in the laundromat they own and operate. Chang’s grandparents, Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er, own Wanshop Laundry in central Taiwan. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chang noticed that his grandparents' lives could use some fun and happiness, so he came up with the idea for them to create trendy outfits from clothes that customers of their laundromat had left behind.
The Instagram account has since gone viral and now has over 634,000 followers. The account and some of its posts have even been featured in the New York Times. There’s something about the outfits and photos that can’t be ignored. They’re inspiring on many levels, and it’s easy to see why the account has gone viral.
From a sustainability standpoint, it’s great to see positive news that promotes upcycling old clothes. Too often, the fashion industry promotes a throw away culture, but Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er are promoting the idea that used clothes are just as cool, if not cooler, than buying new over and over again.
Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er own and may be 83 and 84, but they’re young in spirit. It’s uplifting to see elderly adults full of laughter, fun, and creativity amidst a global pandemic. It’s equally as refreshing to see something so positive and innovative come out of a pandemic that’s been hard on everyone.
Jessy Humann lives and writes out of Spokane, Washington. When she's not writing about sustainability and why it's important, she loves to write poetry and do other types of creative writing. Her first children's book comes out next year.
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