Sports luxe, check. Florals, check. Minimalist chic, check. Military details? Done. Boho, check. Wait, again ? In this digital age, we are inundated with information constantly declaring (or demanding to know) what is the latest look or trend of the season, month or even week. As German model Heidi Klum cheekily tells designers in American reality-television series Project Runway , "In fashion, one day you're in, the next day, you're out." But what is the price of this rapid turnaround? Have faster micro-trends replaced the traditional cycle of catwalk-led big seasonal trends? "Our global customer increasingly seeks newness throughout the year, as well as buy-now, wear-now products. The traditional twice-yearly fashion season has started to feel outdated," says London-based Natalie Kingham, buying director at e-tailer matchesfashion.com . The death of trends isn't a new idea. In 2008, industry analysis website JC Report described how lightning-fast, interactive micro-trends (made possible by the proliferation of fast fashion) were starting to replace the big seasonal ones. Just look at the media attention generated by American designer Jeremy Scott's McDonald's and Looney Tunes collections for Moschino . And then there are the longer-lasting ripple effects, like those caused by Hedi Slimane's Cali-grunge-girl-meets-70s-rock-chick aesthetic, which he has pushed at Saint Laurent. Simon Doonan, creative ambassador-at-large of luxury department store chain Barneys, foresaw the death of trends years ago while American fashion journalist Cathy Horyn wrote about the post-trend universe for The New York Times ' T Magazine last month. Horyn said she would embrace a world where big seasonal trends ceased to dominate, as the digital arena produced a more democratic playing field for a wider range of style choices. "The world of trends and consumer forecasting has changed dramatically over the past two decades," says Peter Gallagher-Witham, the United States head of creative services at Avery Dennison, whose 25-year career has seen him work as head of design for Lacoste (Asia) in Tokyo and design director for Nike (Asia Pacific) in Hong Kong, as well as London trend-forecasting agencies. "Fast fashion has become an increasingly dominant force within the apparel industry," he says. "But if you are about to press a button to launch a product line based on a fast-track trend, you'd better have the correct intelligence." Says Kingham, "In this digital and social era, trends are moving so much faster - a key look that is seen on the runway can become a global phenomenon almost instantly, so demand can escalate quickly. Also, with the speed at which trends get to the consumer, there is no knowing what kind of longevity some trends will have." For established high-fashion brands, the pressure to reinvent and stay relevant is unrelenting. Just look at the merry-go-round of designer appointments today. Nina Ricci, Carven, Gucci, Maison Martin Margiela, Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli are just some of the big brands to have recently undergone a designer shake-up. How much of a brand's DNA remains with this constant pressure for newness? And what do those who remain steadfast in their style (regardless of what's hot or not) think about it all? We posed those questions to Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce two weeks ago, during their flying visit to Hong Kong. After more than 30 years together, the Italian design duo are one of the most durable partnerships in fashion, with an inimitable style that has remained a symbol of la bella vita . "Fashion is fashion, and style is for the rest of your life," says Gabbana, from a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Central, paraphrasing Coco Chanel's famous quote, " La mode passe, le style reste ." "[For us] we need to be fashionable and have the tradition. I love fashion, I love how it changes quickly, but it's not our [whole] story." "There has been a complete change in the way we communicate," says Dolce. "The internet, fast news, means that, today, you need to talk very fast because people don't [pay] as much attention. It has completely changed the world and the style of life. "In the end, [to be long-lasting,] you have to be unique. Beautiful or not, sometimes it's not so important. But if you are unique, people will recognise you. If you are unique, you are one above." American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren echoed a similar point to the SCMP in December. "I don't like fashion," he said. "I like style, I love individuality … It's about wanting to make your own statement." Other labels with consistent ready-to-wear identities include Hermès, Dries Van Noten, Bottega Veneta and the highly influential Céline, whose designer, Phoebe Philo, is credited with almost singlehandedly seducing the fashion world into adoring minimalism again. "I don't care about trends," Belgian designer Van Noten told the SCMP 's Divia Harilela in Paris this month. "For me, it's just important that clothes are bold and colourful, but, at the same time, they need to stay honest or neutral. Belt it, roll the sleeves, combine it in a lot of ways. I don't want to dictate how it should be worn." One major factor in the existential crisis facing the concept of big trends is that of recycling. The 70s have made a comeback several times in the past three years, military detailing is never out long enough to be "back", the same with boho, punk and 80s neons, and there's the return of embellished, rich designs, as people now tire of minimalism. It's hard not to become cynical with so much vintage rehashing. As we search for authenticity in fashion, timelessness is back in focus. Perhaps that's why heritage labels are doing so well, even prompting a trickle-down effect from luxury labels to the high street. "Classic pieces that offer longevity and a more stealth luxe feel always do incredibly well for us - such as the Saint Laurent tux suit, which is a style classic and has staying power and heritage appeal; or the Gucci loafer, which continues to be incredibly popular," says Kingham. "They are the antitheses of the ever-evolving cycle of trends that we are seeing on the runway and off. While customers will always want that must-have item of the season - the Valentino rainbow pieces from Resort, the latest Fendi runway bag - they are increasingly being offset with more classic pieces that will last throughout the seasons." Sophisticated consumers, style leaders, luxury designers and high-end brands, it seems, are removing themselves from the micro-trend fray, preferring a more timeless and unique aesthetic. On the other hand, the balance of power in fashion is shifting. Designers know it. So do editors and bloggers. And consumers have clocked on as well. The millennial generation's digital (often Instagram) driven consumption of style has unequivocally shaken things up, creating another level of interaction between designers and the public that is fast and furious. Rather than being dictated to, consumers are getting more involved. So, is it really the death of trends? Probably not, but trends certainly have changed in nature, frequency and scope. This isn't about giving up. I'll still be telling you what's hot or not in the weekly Post Magazine column Style meter , and common themes will continue to emerge from runways and end up on the street. Gallagher-Witham says the frustration with trend "tail chasing" has led to some industry experts calling time out and, as a result, "We will see trends become more meaningful, clear and potent. "I'm looking forward to sustainability gaining momentum; and uniqueness and purpose becoming more important, as well as technology leading us into a more intuitive world," he says. "And certainly a new tribe of design talent that makes us dream would be more than welcome."