Tissue is translucent to shortwave infrared (SWIR) light, rendering optical imaging superior in this region. However, the widespread use of optical SWIR imaging has been limited, in part, by the lack of bright, biocompatible contrast agents that absorb and emit light above 1000 nm. J-Aggregation offers a means to transform stable, near-infrared (NIR) fluorophores into red-shifted SWIR contrast agents. Here we demonstrate that J-aggregates of NIR fluorophore IR-140 can be prepared inside hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (HMSNs) to result in nanomaterials that absorb and emit SWIR light. The J-aggregates inside PEGylated HMSNs are stable for multiple weeks in buffer and enable high resolution imaging in vivo with 980 nm excitation.