You've got two different questions here; let's tackle them one at a time.
RE: Starting a Clothing Line
The clothing industry, as you can well imagine, is a very competitive one. To succeed takes knowledge, patience, talent and a bit of luck. As far as the knowledge bit goes, I found some sources that will assist you further.
Associations may be a good avenue to explore as well. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have about the clothing industry as well as many you haven't anticipated yet. See the source box for some relevant links.
There's nothing quite like research – the more you know about the clothing industry, the better. There are plenty of free informational resources out there. Check the source box for links to articles.
Also, here are some book titles that may interest you:
* The Official Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Clothing Line by Jay Arrington,
* The Business of Fashion: Designing, Manufacturing, and Marketing by Leslie Davis Burns
* Fashion for Profit (Revised Edition with Retail Chapter) by Frances Harder
* The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider's Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business by Mary Gehlhar
RE: Protecting Designs, Logos, Names etc.
Copyrights can be obtained for things of an artistic nature. This includes, of course, poetry, films, sculptures, music, fiction, etc. But can also include things that may not necessarily seem "artistic" in the general sense of the word. Copyrights can also be obtained for advertising copy, games, software programs and blueprints, to name just a few.
It may be possible for you to file a copyright for any unique, original patterns.
Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry.
Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively prior to filing to ensure that there is no possibility of infringing upon another party.
Hope that helps! I wish you much success & happiness in all your ventures!
http://www.iacde.com/ -- International Association of Clothing Designers & Executives
http://www.apparelsearch.com/association... -- Associations Directory for the Apparel & Fashion Industry
http://ezinearticles.com/?Key-to-Startin... – Key to Starting Your Own Clothing Company by Bradley Johnson
http://ezinearticles.com/?Your-New-Clothing-Company---Apparel-Sourcing&id=69380 – Your New Clothing Company – Apparel Sourcing by Bradley Johnson
http://ezinearticles.com/?Fashion-Marketing-101&id=41674 – Fashion Marketing 101 by Amie Pronowski
http://www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/catID/DAE53B68-7BF5-455A-BC9F3D9C9C1F7513/310/276/ -- NOLO's Copyright Resource Center
http://www.copyright.gov – US Copyright Office
http://www.copyright.gov/register/visual.html -- Visual Arts Registration
http://www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/catID/D8932879-DC34-43DF-BF65FC92D55FEE5D/310/274/ -- NOLO's Trademark Resource Center
http://www.uspto.gov – US Patent & Trademark Office
http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm -- USPTO's Main Trademark Page