King of Soccer, Queen of Punk


Edson Arantes Nascimento has been named one of the greatest athletes of all time, and many call him the greatest soccer player of all time. During the peak of his career, he garnered international recognition and popularity. Everyone in the world knew his name- not Edson Arantes Nascimento, but Pelé, the king of soccer. The man who forever changed the game, his country, and the world. 

The legend recently passed away on December 29, 2022, at the age of 82 from complications with colon cancer. His legacy lives on in the billions of lives he touched, whether through those who he spoke with, the aid he provided to children in need, or the people who watched him play. 

Pelé was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil in 1940. His father, João Ramos do Nascimento, nicknamed Dondinho, played center forward for a number of Brazilian clubs, but struggled to make a living off of it and eventually got injured, forcing him to stop. Pelé grew up in poverty, working at a local tea shop to help support his family. There wasn’t money to purchase a soccer ball, so to play he stuffed socks with newspapers and rolled them into a ball. Although his mother encouraged him not to play soccer after what happened to Dondinho, he pursued the sport with a passion, with his father as his first mentor and coach. By the time he was 15, he had earned his place on the club team Santos FC, in São Paulo. 

From there, it didn’t take long for him to be noticed by the Brazilian National Team. He entered his first World Cup at only 17-years-old and, after scoring twice in the final against Sweden and winning the game, was immediately catapulted into international fame. He is, to this day, the youngest player to have ever scored in a World Cup, the youngest player to win a World Cup, and the only player in the history of the game (both men and women) to win three World Cup titles. His popularity spread like wildfire, and quickly, the name Pelé became one everyone and their mother knew, regardless of whether or not they knew the game of soccer.

It was Pelé’s skill, creativity, and fame that took Santos from unknown to one of the most prominent and successful teams in Brazil, as well as one with worldwide recognition. He played with the team for 18 years in well over 1,000 games. Much of the later time was spent traveling all over the world, drawing crowds of 50,000 or more in many of the cities they visited. Although much of the touring was an incredible experience, as the end of his 1974 contract approached, it became clear that the club was trying to squeeze as much money out of Pelé as they could. In his autobiography he writes, “In 1973 we began another year of traveling… We played in the countries of the Persian Gulf. We played in Egypt and Sudan, in Africa and Europe, we performed in Germany, France, Belgium and England … my farewell on English soil was a sad one. The ‘footballing machine’ was losing its shine.”

Despite this, he was only retired a few years. In 1975 he was convinced to join the New York Cosmos, and in his three seasons with the team, he single-handedly transformed soccer in the United States, making it popular in a way it had never been before. He inspired an entire generation of future soccer players, which, in turn, inspired the generations after that.

In his final game with the team, he played a friendly match against Santos at the Giants Stadium. He played one half with his former club team and one half with the Cosmos. The score of the game was irrelevant. It was the magic of it, the encapsulation of everything Pelé meant to the world. The stadium was full. People flew in from all over the country to witness his final spectacle on the field.

His impact on the world also went beyond his sport. He worked closely with UNICEF as an ambassador for a number of years to advocate for children’s rights, and donated to many other charities. In 2018 he founded The Pelé Foundation, dedicated to benefiting other organizations around the world in their causes to empower children facing poverty.

Over the course of his professional career, he scored 1,283 goals, became the first player to transcend the game of soccer, becoming known worldwide, and reinvented what it meant to play the game.

As his former teammate Gerson put it, “He was the best, the king of soccer. Edson Arantes Nascimento has died, but Pelé is eternal.”

Vivienne Westwood 

On December 29th, 2022, British born fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood passed away. The self-taught and driven designer specialized in creating unique and provocative collections that drove social and political change. 

Born April 8th 1941 in Tintwistle, England, Westwood originally pursued teaching as a career, specifically elementary school students. She went on to get married in 1962 to Derek Westwood, whom she later divorced in 1965 yet kept possession of his last name. Following her divorce, Westwood met the future manager of the punk band the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren, who was a catalyst of her introduction into the fashion industry. After the birth of their son, the couple entered the fashion industry together. They started their career off by opening a shop together called Let it Rock, where they sold second hand 1950’s vintage clothing. Westwood would make and sell custom clothing that incorporated rips, vulgar slogans and graphics. The collaborative shop between Westwood and McLaren took off, yet their romantic relationship ended whilst remaining business partners in 1981. Westwood built her own personal career through working at boutiques, producing men and women clothing collections along with accessories.

As a fashion revolutionizer, Westwood is credited with being the “Mother of Punk”, having created, marketed, and popularized it in London throughout the 1970’s. Punk identifiably is stylized as ripped T’s plastered with provocative and anarchic words and explosions of color often described as “violently bright”. With its development in the 1970’s, punk was epitomized by the look and attitude of The Sex Pistols, which Westwood went on to become a stylist for.

Beyond the innovation of the punk British subculture and adoration from local success, Westwood aspired to redefine fashion worldwide. With her debut catwalk collection “Pirates” in 1981, she introduced romanticism into the fashion field, taking classical century silhouettes and structures and reviving them. The modern day trend of corsets come from Westwood’s imaginative designs, thus igniting wearing underwear as outerwear. Later in a 1985 spring/summer collection, Westwood continued and exemplified historical emergence within fashion with the creation of the “mini-crini” that battled the 80’s conservative norms of the time and provoked garments to sensually show off a person’s curves. Adoration and fashion continued to grow for Westwood during the 90’s and early 2000’s. 

In 2006, Vivienne Westwood went on to be officially recognized by Queen Elizabeth II and appointed Dame of the British Empire due to her contribution to British fashion, having been one of the most influential fashion designs in the world. 

A 2015 autumn/winter “Unisex”, continued her strides of reinvention with arguably one of the first runway collections to feature and showcase androgynous looks to the mainstream media, which has paved today’s era of fashion progression and inclusivity. 

Upon reaching success on the runway, Westwood mainstreamed her vision to utilizing collections and catwalks as a platform for activist campaigns. In 2014, she told The Guardian in an interview,  “Climate change, not fashion, is now my priority.” Passionate about human rights and environmental sustainability, she supported, ambassadored, and campaigned for various charities to make active social change. One of her more impressive strides had been joining the International Trade Center and collaborating with the Nairobi women of Kenya to ethically create bags by making use of recycled materials from landfills. The bag collections would then go on to fund ending deforestation locally and provide income for thousands of women within African communities. On a bigger spectrum, her collaboration with the International Trade Center along with the Ethical Fashion Initiative encouraged the growth of sustainable business and stability among marginalized communities. 

The much-loved Vivienne Westwood, through fashion, innovation, and protests, has earned immense respect and global recognition. With efforts of wanting to save the world and let the next generation get a life, she had taken massive strides towards a more liberated and sustainable future. Through the many lives she’s changed and heart’s she’s touched, Westwood is sure to be missed. However, her legacy of changing the fashion world and stressing the importance of an environmentally friendly future is sure to live on and continue to inspire generations to come.