Student Completes Senior Honors Thesis Combining Fashion And Finance Majors

Gabriella Humes Conducts a Senior Honors Thesis on the Hemline Theory
Gabriella wearing a mask outside in Wadsworth, Ohio.
Gabriella Humes is a senior Honors College student graduating with a double-major in fashion merchandising and finance. Gabriella has been very successful at Kent State, completing an internship and three study away programs. However, one of Gabriella’s proudest accomplishments is recently completing a Senior Honors Thesis that combined both of her majors into one project.  Gabriella’s thesis focuses on the Hemline Theory, a fashion theory that asserts a predictive relationship between skirt length and stock market movements. Gabriella predicted that the theory would be false and that there would be no causal relationship between hemline lengths and stock market movements. In order to research her topic, Gabriella tracked monthly hemline trends from Vogue magazine’s archives between 1925 and 2010. After collecting hemline data, Gabriella also graphed stock market movements from the same years and analyzed the two sets of data to see if there was any causal relationship. Gabriella found that stock market movements and hemline trends do not have a predictive relationship.

When asked about her thesis topic, Gabriella says, “I am passionate about my thesis because I have always loved history and fashion, so combining the two was perfect for me.” Throughout her thesis research, Gabriella would place hemline trends into one of nine hemline length categories, which taught her more about the evolution of fashion. Gabriella explains, “It was so cool seeing what the standard for beauty was.” Analyzing stock market movements also integrated her finance major, making her thesis a well-rounded project for Gabriella. Even challenges in the thesis process intrigued her. Gabriella recalls, “I hit a fragmentary set of hemline data, where there were fewer macro trends and more individualized style. So, you could often see two different hemline trends in the same month, even if they were at two different ends of the length spectrum. Looking more into it, I found out that this was the time period when pants were introduced for women, so I added tracking the trend between pants and stocks to my thesis.”

Because her honors thesis incorporated finance and fashion, Gabriella had two faculty advisors for her thesis. Her advisor for the fashion portion of her thesis was Sara Hume, an associate professor and Curator at the Kent State University Museum. Gabriella says that Professor Hume helped her find more current research about fashion trends when Gabriella was having trouble with only finding dated articles. Gabriella’s primary thesis advisor was Dr. Lindsay Baran of the Department of Finance. Gabriella adds, “I would not have been able to do anything without her. I had never done empirical testing before, but Dr. Barron was helping me every step of the way. She let me do things on my own, but she was always there if I had questions.”

If she could go back and offer herself any piece of advice as an incoming freshman, Gabriella says she would want to be more flexible. Gabriella encourages her fellow honors students, “Don’t forget about the other parts of your life. I wanted to keep my GPA up and I was doing a bunch of academic things to boost my resume for graduate programs, so my social life kind of fell to the wayside sometimes. You’re only in college once. Make friends, explore the city that you’re in, and do things that you enjoy. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”

After graduating this spring, Gabriella hopes to work in the fashion industry before applying to ivy league graduate programs in fashion. Gabriella explains, “Most of those schools require you to work in your field of interest before applying.” She has completed an interview for the position of Assistant Buyer at the Home Shopping Network in Florida. Gabriella has interned for the company for two semesters already, and she says that this position would fit perfectly with her fashion merchandising interests.

Gabriella is excited to continue pursuing her interests in fashion and finance, and she is grateful to all of the faculty members who helped her succeed at Kent State.

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PHOTO CAPTION 1: Gabriella Humes sitting in a park in Canton, Ohio.

PHOTO CAPTION 2: Gabriella wearing a mask outside in Wadsworth, Ohio.

Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, smoskal@kent.edu, 330-672-2312

POSTED: Monday, May 3, 2021 - 1:03pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 3, 2021 - 2:15pm
WRITTEN BY:
Olivia Wachtel, Honors College Writing Intern