Trend sites are manifestations of the latest in trend spotting--the creation of an open and constantly available source of information about developments in business, fashion, lifestyle and just about every other aspect of life. Just as many trends evolve as they are affected by newer trends, so these sites are responses to demands for transparency and consumer participation spurred by today’s information revolution.

But in this age when what was new yesterday is old tomorrow, what makes a trend?

Netherlands-based trendwatching.com offers a definition: “A trend is a manifestation of something that has newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need, desire, want or value.” An example is the Internet, which is growing in response to humans’ need for knowledge.

What about the current hot color, fabric or designer label? And what is expected in 15 to 20 years? These do not a trend make, says trendwatching.com. The former are fads, the latter, predictions. Also not included is “cool hunting,” which involves discovering individual occurrences that are unique and interesting, but don’t contribute to an overarching trend.

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