I was driving a friend to the airport today who is starting her own clothing business. My friend, who though she had some novel ideas, was told by her dad (a patent attorney) that "you can't patent fashion."
I beg to differ. Back when I was working for a federal judge (over a decade ago) I saw my first fashion patent. It was a design patent that covered the famous "scrunchie":
Utility and design patents abound in the fashion arts (there are dozens of utility patents for socks alone). I hope my friend doesn't take her dad's advice, and seriously considers protecting her intellectual property. Building an IP portfolio is just as important for a small start-up clothing company as it is for 3M or IBM, and start-ups need any advantage they can get in this challenging economic environment.