Still, she plodded along, landing a job as a business analyst for Target’s home, garden, and Christmas division at the company’s mammoth headquarters in Minneapolis. “I developed a passion for outdoor clay pots and Christmas lights,” she says earnestly. “To this day. I still check those Items when I’m in the store!” Monsur hankered for more creative work, so she transferred to New York City to work for a Target subsidiary that offered creative direction to other big-box stores, like HomeGoods. The new role sent her on sourcing trips to China. Korea. Japan, and India. “1 began to see how inspiring global
aesthetics anil stories arc. and how you can bring that hack and tell that story to your consumer.” she says.
But then, catastrophe: In 2008. the market tanked and Monsur was laid off. She called her parents, devastated, asking. “What do I do now?” They reminded her of all the times she’d called to complain that her corporate job was giving her “cancer of the soul” and convinced her that the turn of events, though terrifying, was an opportunity to do what she’d always wanted to do: work in fashion.
So Monsur went freelance, taking styling assignments here and there from the likes of Nike and J. Cole. After f a chance encounter with celebrity stylist Atiba Newsome at a music-video shoot, she was enlisted to help him pitch a high-profile clandestine new client who “worked really well with women.” The top- secret client? Prince.
What began as a personal-styling gig-albelt a coveted one quickly evolved into a unique creative collaboration after she suggested new looks for his band, the New Power Generation. The pair worked so well together that Monsur accompanied him on tour between 2009 and 2012. Monsur is intensely protective of her relationship with PrinceIt’s clear he was a mentor, a man she describes as “the most creatively impactful person in my life … He develops people and pulls out the best in them.”
Through Prince. Monsur cultivated her own high-profile client base, including Nicki Minai and Grammv-winning iizz musician
Esperanza Spalding. Bui all along, she also yearned to tell bigger stories, to work with fledgling brands trying to forge their nascent identities, to create something powerful and provocative where nothing had existed before. In 2013. she was hired to provide creative direction for Al Jazeera’s stateside launch, advising the Qatar-based network on on-air looks for anchors. A trip to the Middle EastMonsur travels frequently for inspirationled to a chance encounter with a friend of Tom Punch, the global executive creative director of Vice, the edgy media empire catering to Millennials. She then had a series of Interviews with Vice, which was undergoing explosive growth and in need of fresh but seasoned talent who could help cement its identity as the place to be for the 20-something creative class.
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