As Japan bids farewell to Golden Week and gets fully settled into the new era of Reiwa, Black Creatives Japan follows suit, featuring a new website design and a whole series of new BCJ member profiles.

Today, we introduce you to Miles Woodruffe, a London-raised illustrator, DJ and now fashion designer, who has been quite busy with the launch of his brand: DLRS. Well known in Kansai, for his striking art style and great taste in music, Miles has now taken his first steps into the world of fashion. And BCJ thought what better way to kick off the shift into Reiwa than to catch up with this triple threat? Let’s get to it!


Black Creatives Japan: Tell us a little about yourself and how you first got to Japan. I do know that you started out as a student. What made you decide to stay here?

Miles Woodruffe: Like many people who found themselves in Japan, I too, was a kid, who was into Japanese cultural products like video games, anime and manga. I started self teaching myself Japanese at a young age and managed to make my first Japanese friend/pen pal, Mai, a previous guest on the “Kurly in Kansai” podcast. With her help, I was able to practice speaking Japanese throughout my teen years and eventually visited Osaka at the age of 16. That trip turned into many. I had always wanted to study in a Japanese university and study anthropology, a subject I had been madly into in secondary school. I eventually found a program that taught social anthropology at a university in Kyoto and applied for it. I spent 4 years here as an undergraduate, graduated and here I am now 5 years later.

I’m generally a laid back person and I felt that there weren’t any groups of people that were into the stuff I was at school, so I went off and made my own friends out of school. I met people who were into games, music and art. I later saw myself pulled into many different circles, once people took a liking to me, as a dude from London, who liked certain kinds of music and was good at drawing. I ended up making a lot of DJ/music producer friends and under peer pressure decided to try out DJing. Next thing I knew, I ended up playing at big events very quickly, despite not being so confident in my skills. People tended to just notice me as that non-Japanese DJ you would see at random events in Kyoto and I guess it kicked off from there.

To get back to the question though, I guess what made me stay was the fact that I found myself meeting and brushing shoulders with very influential people and I realized that by being in Japan, I was afforded special opportunities based simply on who I knew and what I had previously done in the past. I want to be able to harness that privilege and use it to succeed in my art, music and fashion pursuits.

BCJ: What subjects did you study in school and when did you know you wanted to create/design a fashion label?

MW: The subjects I specialized in throughout my school years were philosophy, biology, art and later social anthropology in university. I realized in secondary school studying art as a major, that I wanted to keep art as a hobby and didn’t want it to ever become homework. I however kept drawing and drawing. I was and always have been into manga art and have tried my hand at making comics.

Before this I was never interested in fashion and never consciously thought about the clothes I wore, I saw that as my mom’s job haha! My mother is actually a fashion designer so I always saw that as something feminine looking back. I only ever thought about making clothes after seeing I was somewhat capable at DJing and noticed that there was a seamless link between art, music and fashion. I wanted to be savvy in all these scenes so I gave my mother a call and asked her to help me make a collection and guide me. We eventually made a collection within a few months and I had my first exhibition last month!

BW photos taken by @samanthamilligan [IG]

BCJ: Very cool, so it’s in the family genes then, haha! What has been some of the obstacles in the process of creating your label or any of your other creative outlets?

MW: Label wise, an obvious obstacle is MONEY. When I was building up my collection in London, I was going back and forth in different textiles/fabric stores, crunching numbers and deciding what fabric was best. My mum always told me to pick quality over everything and hence my wallet ran dry quickly!

I wanted my label to be a UK/Japan hybrid so it involved me observing different styles seen in Japan and London. In Japan, I noticed people were not overly concerned with who’s wearing what. They wore what they liked and did it very well if they made an effort to look presentable in it. I felt this wasn’t so much the case for the average person in London, unless people were particularly involved in fashion as a hobby. I feel a difficulty is making designs that people are proud to wear out whilst at the same time keeps them humble. It sounds somewhat contradictory I know haha. I also have just started this and do not consider myself an authority figure on this topic.

BCJ: That’s understandable. After all, some of the best things in life are contradictory! So, what would you say has been the most exciting or inspiring thing for you during this process? What things have kept you going?

MW: The most exciting thing for sure is seeing your outfit on a rail, people thumbing through your pieces and saying they want it. It’s weird and fulfilling when you see the piece go from a roll of fabric, to a pattern cut out to an actual piece of clothing. Like really? You want my stuff? Okay, Haha!

I recently gave one of my sample pieces to a Japanese music artist; Kid Nathan, who I had perform at my pop up party and he’s been wearing it to gigs and in one of his music videos. It’s the same turtleneck I was wearing out to advertise my brand over winter and now it’s being seen by thousands of people!

What keeps me going is knowing that people are anticipating what you’ll put out next and being confident that you’ll impress them.

BCJ: Do you have any advice for someone else looking to get started in the fashion industry while here in Japan or generally?

MW: Umm, like I said, I don’t think I’m well versed in giving advice just yet, but what I’ve discovered so far is: Keep it professional, avoid any cliches you’re aware of, stay original always and don’t be afraid to make something that hasn’t been done!

BCJ: The best advice always comes from experience, which you definitely have so no worries there! And finally, tell us, what’s next on the horizon for DLRS or otherwise; is there anything you’d like people to look out for in particular?

MW: Next is a proper website (really need to have that done already haha!), content for my social networking, a Tokyo and London photo shoot and a new collection!


With great expectations and head held high, Miles Woodruffe is marching into new creative territory and BCJ is looking forward to his progress every step of the way. Join us and stay on the lookout for Miles’ upcoming projects, via social media, using the following links below:

IG: @lancestarw, @dlrs.ldn

Miles Woodruffe: マルチな才能(イラストレーター、DJ、デザイナー)

ゴールデンウィークが終わり、新元号「令和」がスタートした日本。この機会に、Black Creatives Japan (BCJ)サイトのデザイン、そしてメンバー紹介のシリーズを更新しました。

今日ご紹介するメンバーは、ロンドン出身のイラストレーターでありDJ活動も行うMiles Woodruffeです。自身のブランド「DLRS」を立ち上げ、現在はファッションデザイナーとしても活躍しています。目を引くアートスタイルと抜群の音楽センスから、関西では名の知れたアーティストであるMilesですが、この度ファッションの世界へと新たな一歩を踏み出しました。そこでBCJは、令和時代をスタートさせるに相応しい、3つの才能を探るインタビューを企画しました。では早速始めましょう!

Black Creatives Japan:自己紹介を兼ね、日本に来たきっかけを教えてください。最初は学生として来日したんですよね。なぜ日本に残ることにしたんですか?

Miles Woodruffe:日本にいる外国人がよく言うように、僕もキッズとして、日本文化が生み出したゲーム、アニメやマンガにハマったんです。子供の頃に独学で日本語を勉強し、何とか日本人の友達もできました。当時文通をしていたマイという子で、ゲストとして以前ポッドキャスト「Kurly in Kansai」に出演した人です。彼女の力を借りながら10代の頃に日本語を練習し、16歳の時に大阪に遊びに来たんです。その後も色んな所に行きました。中学校で夢中になった人類学を日本の大学で勉強したかったので、社会人類学のコースがある京都の大学に行きました。4年で学部を卒業したのが5年前です。











この前、服のサンプルを日本のミュージシャンにプレゼントしたんです。Kid Nathanていう、僕のパーティーイベントでパフォーマンスを披露してくれたことがある人なんだけど、その服をライブやミュージックビデオで着てくれたんだ。冬に出したブランド広告で僕が来たタートルネックと同じもので、それを何千人もの人に見てもらえたってわけ!






大きな期待と前向きさで、新たなクリエイティブの領域へ突き進むMiles Woodruffe。BCJは今後の彼の進化に期待しています。皆さんも是非Milesのプロジェクトをフォローしてください(ソーシャルメディアは以下のリンクへ)。

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