philip sumner


Some Things Are Just Timeless (from PerfectStrangerLA)

Name: Phillip Sumner, 30
Found: At American Vintage, 1750 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz.
LA Story: Was born in Boston, but has lived in Southern California most of his life.

 “Man will defeat aging,” Sumner said. “Aging is generally accepted and I believe that expectation needs to change for great things to happen.”

He’s a man who doesn’t relish in a particular place in history.

As he casually wanders through a room filled with possessions from another time – things such as embroidered cowboy boots, wooden handled clutch purses and cotton-poly button-up shirts – in a place where past meets present, Phillip Sumner looks like he belongs.

Inside American Vintage, a used, vintage and consignment store in Los Feliz who are clients of his, he wears what at first glance appears to be a denim leisure suit paired with tan Florshien boots – tight-fitting ankle-high boots with a sharp pointed toe. They’re shoes exactly like The Beatles wore during the 1960s.

Sumner has a 3,000 piece vinyl collection he hopes will grow to become between 30 and 40,000. He enjoys listening to recordings by classic American jazz vocalists such as Anita O’Day and Lena Horne and prefers his tunes via old brands of hi-fi sound equipment.

But he doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea. It’s not that he likes old things, he explained. It’s that he likes “good things.”

“If you look at a broad expanse of time and have opportunity to choose the things that fit your aesthetic – I feel that I’m drawn to certain things that are made with a level of quality and care and these things aren’t necessarily new,” he said.

“I don’t want to give you the impression that I am interested in things that are old. I feel like I’m a futurist. I’m concerned with the future more than anything else and I try to act and think progressively at all points, in all times. I don’t want to sound like someone who is stuck in the past. I feel like it’s exactly the opposite.”

Sometimes, Sumner takes old things and makes them into something new and usable again.

He recently redesigned a glass face plate that fits the front of the MA 230, legendary high-end audio manufacturer McIntosh Laboratory’s first Stereo Integrated Amplifier.

The company has since stopped producing the part and now the only place where you can find one is Sumner himself.

“It’s a piece that’s really difficult to make,” he said. “It’s a delicate part and so, in most cases, people need it. It’s a really aesthetic part and functional. It completes the look of these early amplifiers.”

Sumner sticks to a strict Paleolithic diet, he said, which means he only eats things that have been around for millions of years – things that the cavemen ate: meats, nuts, veggies and fruits – and he doesn’t eat processed food.

It’s a lifestyle that’s also popularly referred to as the Caveman Diet, Stone Age Diet and Hunter-Gatherer Diet.

“It’s not a diet or a fad,”he said. “My reason is that I believe we, I, people, have everything that they need and shouldn’t get caught up in having things sold to us.”

Sumner also keeps away from soap and shampoo products.

“I don’t need products or people telling me that I’m dirty. I’m as clean as can be. I don’t believe in ‘dirty’ that I think most people believe in,” he said. “My hair smells better than any hair I’ve ever smelled, ever.”