Darcel de Vlugt is a Caribbean-based designer who was born in Trinidad & Tobago but raised around the world in the Middle East and Cyprus. She spent six years in London after graduating from high school with five A levels, as well as a teaching qualification in modern dance, where she acquired her Bachelor's degree in Fashion Technology for Womenswear at the London College of Fashion. In 2007, she used her internship semester as an opportunity to get back in touch with her Caribbean roots by working alongside top designer Meiling Esau for six months. In 2008, following graduation from the University of the Arts, London, she made her runway debut at the Islands of the World Fashion Week in Nassau, the Bahamas, where she placed as a top three finalist in every category (Next Generation Designer, Eco-Sustainable, Cultural). She returned to the Bahamas the following year to win the Next Generation Designer Award 2009 with her Mad Hatter's Tea Party collection. Following her return to Trinidad & Tobago in 2010, Darcel de Vlugt became the Editor of then premier Caribbean fashion resource CFstyle.com, as well as concurrently being the sub-Editor for UK-based women's magazine ComplexdWoman. During that time, she exercised not only her writing skills, but also creatively directed a number of photo shoots and productions in collaboration with other Caribbean designers.
Following her return to Trinidad & Tobago in 2010, Darcel de Vlugt became the Editor of then premier Caribbean fashion resource CFstyle.com, as well as concurrently being the sub-Editor for UK-based women's magazine ComplexdWoman. During that time, she exercised not only her writing skills, but also creatively directed a number of photo shoots and productions in collaboration with other Caribbean designers. She became a mother in 2011 and returned to the world of design in May 2012 with a small collection on the runway of the re-designed Islands of the World Fashion Showcase in the Bahamas as a veteran designer. Having teased the public with hints of bridal and red carpet allure throughout her work, in February 2013 after being one of only three designers chosen to showcase their work in London at the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week, she made the decision to pursue a fashion career in bridal and special occasion wear during her time in Trinidad. She has now been doing bridal wear and accessories for three years, and has quickly become one of the "go-to" designers for all things bridal.
In addition to her design work, Darcel de Vlugt has appeared on numerous TV shows throughout the UK and US, as well as in Japan and the Caribbean, speaking about her life experiences living with the skin condition Vitiligo. She hosted the first ever Walk For Skin in Trinidad around the Queen's Park Savannah when she returned in 2010 and has done public speaking and mentoring for children, teens and young adults to raise awareness for skin disease, including a TEDxYouth talk in January 2012. In the motherhood phase, her skin has started repigmenting and she has begun speaking about the journey and process through her social media platforms as well as through interviews. Alongside designing full-time, Darcel continues to write and edit as a freelancer, and will be returning to teaching dance in September 2017 at a bilingual preschool in Trinidad's capital, Port-of-Spain, where she will be introducing music, rhythm and dance from around the world to young children to "lay the foundations" for dance and music knowledge.