This is totally from the the Paul Rand school of thought, as well as many other leading (and legendary) designers like Eames: Designers should leverage timeless principles (of form, content, quality) and embody a beauty (in all its multidimensional senses) in their work, outlasting momentary styles and fads. It’s admittedly an idealistic view that speaks to issues of craft and cultural value.
On the opposite end perhaps are those who seek to serve and influence the fashions of the day, whatever may be considered “cool” for the hip and savvy set. A former creative director of Nike and Quokka (now VP of Product Experience at Adobe) recently proclaimed that “we’re all fashion designers now”. Not too sure if I agree with that :-)
Couple quick examples of successful fashion-based adaptation:
* Madonna has done an extraordinary job morphing herself every couple years in terms of her style and music.
* Relatedly, MTV is a major commercial brand that must adapt to changing styles and fads to stay relevant to its savvy audiences, especially at a global scale!