1413 is back with another playful ode to Chinese culture – this time focusing on medicine and wellness

What are benefits of drinking hot water? How does Qi work? And who’s behind the common standards of health? The seventh issue of 1413 answers these questions and more.

9 November 2022


Scrolling through my Instagram, I’m inundated with non-stop adverts selling the next big thing in healthcare. I think it’s safe to say that young people are well and truly hooked on health again. And companies, with their digital-only sales models, social-first adverts and slick copy are keen to get a slice of this multi-million-pound market. 1413, the magazine founded by Zengli Shan and Wu Yijing aka Lisa and Echo, is taking a different approach to health and wellness – one founded on the principles of Chinese traditional medicine. “We are trying to reinvigorate this topic with a more personal, light-hearted approach,” Echo tells It’s Nice That.

Founded while the duo was studying graphic design at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the magazine, now in its seventh issue, has covered an impressively wide range of topics. From the development of the selfie within a contemporary Chinese context to Chinese fandom culture and the three phases of romantic love, each edition approaches its theme with charming levity. “We usually put psychic reading, dating sections, jokes and recipes etc. in it. The happy hour column is more or less a collection of the things we really enjoy in magazines,” Echo explains.

Gallery1413 Magazine: Issue 7 (Copyright ©1413 Magazine, 2022)

Both Echo and Lisa work in full-time jobs while producing the magazine; Lisa as a graphic designer based in Shenzhen and Echo is a designer at Richard Turley’s New York-based creative studio Food. As you can imagine, this comes with its own set of problems, but the pair still wanted a bigger issue this time around. In previous issues, they handled the design, photography, illustration, writing and translation themselves. This time around, they opened that up to bring more people in. “Most of these collaborators and models are often just our close friends," says Echo, explaining how this was the ideal set-up because it made the creative process more chill. Who doesn’t want more chill?

And when you don’t have to worry about complicated back and forths with contributors, you can commission not one but three covers. One of the versions is a pillowy pink ethereal take on wellness and Chi designed by New York-based illustrator Shuhua Xiong – she calls the piece Chakra uprising. The second is an intimate chiropractic session shot by Chinese Photographer LB3. Lastly, the cover by New York-based 3D artist Jacob Jesse Perez, features a play dough-looking bubble tea angel on the front and devil on the back. This last edition was intended to reference the popularity of bubble tea in China, a drink notorious for containing high amounts of sugar. Echo tells us that “it represents a main conflict of wellness between pleasure and health like there’s always an angel and a devil on your shoulder”.

Rest assured, 1413 practices what it preaches. The magazine is divided into three sections: Hot, Chi and Mind, considerately broken up with callisthenics sessions. “Each chapter heading is done in the folk calligraphy of ‘name painting’ where flowers, birds and mountains represent each stroke of a character,” says Echo. The resulting publication has traditional weight to it but with a distinctly humorous twist. “The idea of Chinese wellness conjures traditional images of herbs, hot tea, big brush calligraphy or an old guy with a long beard looking old,” says Echo. “It always has this sort of ascetic, zen kind of feeling.” There’s nothing wrong with that, she says, but they want to hold those perceptions at a distance and let a different kind of understanding take centre stage.

This issue was a step out of the team’s comfort zone. As well as close friends like photographer Ramona Wang, they brought in creatives they’d admired from afar such as photographer Murrie Rosenfeld whose satirical images accompany the $14.13 Store feature. All in all, the magazine took two years to produce. But for Echo, all that really matters is that they had fun. “We took our time, that’s healthy after all.”

Gallery1413 Magazine: Issue 7 (Copyright ©1413 Magazine, 2022)

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Copyright ©1413 Magazine, 2022

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About the Author

Roz Jones

Roz (he/him) joined It’s Nice That for three months as an editorial assistant in October 2022 after graduating from Magazine Journalism and Publishing at London College of Communication. He’s particularly interested in publications, archives and multi-media design.

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