It is a rare occasion that I purchase a new textile product. Knowing the excess that occurs at all stages when it comes to producing textiles, buying secondhand feels like a stop gap (albeit a tiny one) in that cycle. However, the dish towels people donate to places like Goodwill are either often a) very worn or b) very ugly. After several years of settling for un-absorbent and unattractive kitchen towels, I decided to invest in some quality, handwoven organic cotton ones.
Reader, (I've been re-reading Jane Eyre lately) I will never go back! The difference is a hundredfold. Just by touch you can tell the item will hold up to a lot of use and will last a long time. The longevity of a product's lifetime justifies purchasing new. I think I found my new go to present when it comes to weddings.
I used the term "invest" when I described my decision, because an individual towel can run between twenty and thirty dollars, but a set of three is likely to last ten years or more and is not contributing any textile waste to landfills. Also, you are getting something very practical and supporting a local artisan. While I purchased my towels from the fiber arts and textile collective where I am a member, there are many weavers listed on etsy or to be found locally.