n. A person who investigates cutting-edge trends, fashions, and ideas and sells them as market research to companies so they can incorporate them into their latest products.
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Who would have guessed that Hush Puppies, the crepe-soled comfort shoe for the fashion-challenged 50s, would be big in the '90s? Or that tube sox and shower sandals would become huge. The coolhunters knew.
—Linda Wertheimer, National Public Radio, March 20, 1997
1995 (earliest)
The paradox, of course, is that the better coolhunters become at bringing the mainstream close to the cutting edge, the more elusive the cutting edge becomes. This is the first rule of the cool: The quicker the chase, the quicker the flight. The act of discovering what's cool is what causes cool to move on, which explains the triumphant circularity of coolhunting: because we have coolhunters like DeeDee and Baysie, cool changes more quickly, and because cool changes more quickly, we need coolhunters like DeeDee and Baysie.
—Malcolm Gladwell, “The Coolhunt,” The New Yorker, March 17, 1995