Fashion-forward is always met with acclaim, because it is the perfect match of fashion, mindset & momentum. Fads are cheap ways to get momentum from actual fashion, from actual mindset trends.
A good example, you can ask a designer to make you a fifties dress. If that dress is just like it was in the fifties and is envisioned in the same way it was back then, then you have a costume, or even worse, a cliché. Why? Because you live in a contemporary world, not in the nineteen-fifties. A good designer, is able to show that, even though he is making a fifties dress, it belongs to his mindset, that he lives in a different era, in which certain cuts, materials, looks, have EVOLVED. And if he is not good but great, you can see his own point of view even through all the constrains. And if he is not great but awesome, his point of view does not go all the way avant-garde, but just enough to make it work aka forward.
The latest trend of architects that talk about the middle, should understand that the middle is just as bad as the avant-garde or pragmatism they claim to escape from. It is about being architecture-forward, and not being afraid to say that fashion co-evolves with the contemporary mindset. Denying that they are into fashion, is not understanding the difference between fad trend fashion and mindset...