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Sweaters of the Apocalypse 

St. Louis manufacturer cozies up to the stars of The Matrix Reloaded

Nina Ganci commenced her enterprise, Skif International, in the most humble of places: her mother's basement. After nine years of existence, Ganci's baby is living up to the "international," outgrowing the basement not only in size but also in reach. With just a handful of employees and knitters and one designer (Ganci herself), St. Louis' Skif has managed to place its locally produced handiwork in the two of the year's most anticipated Hollywood films: The Matrix Reloaded (opening May 15) and The Matrix Revolutions (opening later this year).

This week, all the inhabitants of Zion can check out Ganci's designs in the second film of the Matrix trilogy. The designer and her crew created 98 total garments for the two films. Viewers will see the sweaters in the "reality" portion of the film. "Our things aren't in the 'shiny' part of the movie, where they're wearing leather, shiny black costumes, and they're flying through the air," Ganci clarifies. "We're in the reality part, where they're all wearing their last outfit. They don't have anything else to change into, and [their clothes] are torn. Hopefully it's their favorite sweater."

Isn't that what anyone would want to wear when fighting those sentinels -- something worn and comfy?

The Skifers are putting out about 500 sweaters a month these days, selling them mainly on the coasts and in major cities. (Why is St. Louis always the last to know?) Now that we're in the loop, we can look appropriate when practicing such classic Keanu Reeves lines as "It's my way or the highway," spoken by Neo in the first Matrix. Let's hope that the silly machismo has been eliminated from the sequel and that the humans are one step closer to freedom. After all, "Skif" stands for "Sweaters Knitted in Freedom."

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